In 2013, I took over lead direct action organizing of the Peaceful Streets Project and went on to launch our most successful actions to date.
Those actions include the 2013 SXSW cop watch that saw arrest percentages dropped by 40%, and then with Wagner Watch, a campaign that shook Austin Police Department to it’s core and put the head of the police union scrambling to ask for new legislation passed to halt this new type of lawful activism.
The Peaceful Streets Project is currently still in discussion about how to approach the future of our main Facebook account.
Absolutely no other aspect of the organization is in debate or disagreement of any sort.
While I will not have my teammates ever apologize over their involvement, I will say the following; perhaps Antonio Buehler’s controversial Facebook comment would have best been served on his personal account.
Remember that we are viewing this in hindsight.
Antonio, as previously stated, is no longer anymore of a leader in the organization than any of it’s other members.
Following the second Peaceful Streets summit, Antonio Beuhler left for Harvard. He dropped his involvement in the Peaceful Streets Project, and the group headed into one of it’s most difficult periods.
In the Spring of 2014, I returned to the organization after a hiatus.
During this period, I was also considered Peaceful Streets Project’s principle organizer. Instead of launching one campaign, we spread it out and launched a series of over 20 actions with only a few weeks off in May.
Peaceful Streets Project Has Changed Its Rhetoric When Interacting With Police Already
I also give credence to some the grievances launched for so long against the Peaceful Streets Project.
Our rhetoric changed at PSP already, and we barely verbally encountered officers, no matter what happened.
We instituted a passive stance in our actions.
What was the police reaction?
The same level of police harassment we had always faced.
People still said the same things about how we conducted ourselves on the street, where we choose to put our time and actions.
It was wrong when Rick Rynearson of VAPA made this vapid claim, “Antonio’s muscular viewpoint can now be summed up with the statement that “the only good cop is a dead cop.”
A statement such as this has never been issued by the Peaceful Streets Project at any point.
Furthermore, contrary to the Chief of Austin PD’s recent assertions, Antonio Buehler, nor any member of the PSP, has ever directly gotten in a cops face. Art Acevedo is twisting this story for public relations purposes. It was an Austin PD officer who approached Antonio and got in his face. They then wrote a false affidavit.
In the entire existence of the Peaceful Streets Project, no member has ever touched an officer.
At least we can all agree with Rynearson’s statement that Austin’s Chief of Police, “Art Ascevedo is a bad cop… unworthy of public office.”
However, I strongly disagree with Rick’s statement that, “Antonio may be losing his inner struggle.” Firstly, Rick does not know Antonio on a personal level. They have never shared an actual friendship with each other. They have only been acquaintances.
Rick lacks the qualification to speak of what struggles Antonio may or may not be under, to which I can assure you, he is under no duress that would compromise his ability to participate in PSP’s activities.
Antonio Buehler is not a liability to the Peaceful Streets Project. He is it’s strongest component at the moment. Over the past few months, he has had to step up more due to my absence for personal health reasons.
The majority of us are willing to endure any controversy over our stances.
But, if we thought it would have damaged or jeopardized other organizations that we admire and respect, that undoubtedly would have changed our approach to this particular situation.
Antonio’s personal belief is that the only good cop is one who arrests a bad cop for the crimes they commit. This has yet to happen in Austin throughout our existence.
This is the now infamous message put out by Antonio in response to the death of the Harris County officer: “Pig executed in Houston. Probably shouldn’t have joined a criminal gang. His bad decisions caught up with him. Blame his parents.”
It was satire.
Antonio wrote about the officer the same as they write about the African Americans they murder in attempt to criminalize their character.
He wasn’t the only one stating that this is what the police have pushed the public into doing.
I will not have my friend and teammate apologize to anyone for this.
All I will say is this would have best been written on his personal account, and doesn’t reflect the views of an entire organization – rather the First Amendment protected free speech opinions of a real, on the streets activist who has been unduly charged, hurt, harassed and opposed by bad cops, and exonerated by the courts.
The Peaceful Streets Project is an organization built upon the foundation of consistent street actions to a near bi-weekly point. We are a group consisting of volunteers and others that have consistently devoted themselves to organizing internally.
We create countless direct actions to enable victims of police abuse to take back their power and prevent the police from abusing others. Antonio is also not a cult leader, and I’ve continuously provided statements to the contrary. Antonio and I are extraordinarily different in our ideological approach.
We all support one cause, bringing accountability to the police and civil rights back to our streets.