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Grand Jury Indicts Buehler: UPDATE

Misdemeanors only for defying 'lawful orders'
Michael King, 3:40pm, Thu. Apr. 4, 2013
Antonio Buehler
On Tuesday, a Travis County grand jury indicted Peaceful Streets Project founder Antonio Buehler on several misdemeanor counts of disobeying lawful orders –- but they declined to indict him on a felony charge of harassment of a public servant. POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO LINK TO OFFICIAL STATEMENTS

The indictments relate to incidents between Buehler (and others) and police officers beginning in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2012. Police said Buehler interfered with the investigation of a possible DUI at a convenience store at 10th and Lamar; Buehler charged that the police officers were abusive and lied about the incident. According to a statement released Tuesday by District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, “The Grand Jury met on six occasions and heard from 13 witnesses, including Antonio Buehler and Officer Patrick Oborski. The felony charges considered by the Grand Jury were tampering with a governmental record by Officer Oborski as well as harassment of a public servant by Antonio Buehler. The Grand Jury also considered whether Officer Oborski committed official oppression.”

In sum, the grand jury indicted Buehler for failure to obey a lawful order (a Class C misdemeanor) for the Jan. 1, 2012 incident, and three additional counts for subsequent incidents when Buehler was cited while attempting to video police officers making arrests Downtown: “for failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor, for incidents occurring on August 24th, August 26th and September 21st, 2012. Sarah Dickerson [another Peaceful Streets activist] was also indicted for failure to obey a lawful order in connection with the September 21st, 2012 incident.”

In statement released Wednesday, Peaceful Streets Project said, “There was no evidence that either Buehler or Dickerson ever obstructed or interfered with an officer engaged in his official duties.”

And in a statement released by the City of Austin, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said in part, “The Austin Police Department wants to once again reiterate the fact that simply filming police actions are generally lawful. However, interfering or obstructing a lawful police action, failure to obey a lawful order, and/or resisting arrest is a violation of the law.”

After a day of wrestling with recalcitrant computer apps, the post now links to statements from 1) the district attorney; 2) Peaceful Streets Project; 3) City of Austin/APD.

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