Final Charges Dropped for Buehler
Activist's slate all clear before civil trial on March 2
By Chase Hoffberger,
5:47PM, Thu. Feb. 19, 2015
City Judge Sherry Statman dismissed the two final outstanding misdemeanor charges levied against Peaceful Streets Project co-founder Antonio Buehler on Thursday, clearing the way for a meeting between city prosecutors and the police accountability activist in federal court.
The charges – both for failure to obey the order of a police officer – stem from two separate arrests in the late summer of 2012: one involving Officer Justin Berry on Aug. 26, and another from Sept. 21, in which Buehler and a PSP cohort were arrested by Sergeant Adam Johnson. In both cases, the officers concluded that Buehler (and his accomplice) were filming their actions in such a way that it affected their performance. Until Thursday afternoon he was slated to appear in court for the first arrest on Feb. 23. A hearing date for the second had not yet been decided.
The dismissal is nearly identical to that which occurred last month – Jan. 5. – when a city judge dropped interference charges against Buehler for his efforts to “out” an undercover Ofc. Berry on Aug. 24, 2012. All three come on the heels of October’s acquittal on interference charges imposed after his now-infamous New Year's Eve 2012 arrest.
The 37-year-old now turns his attention to the civil suit he filed in late 2013 against the Austin Police Department, Chief Art Acevedo, and Officers Berry, Johnson, Patrick Oborski, and Robert Snider. That’s currently set for March 2 – 10 days from now.
“It’s not as much of a victory as it would have been had we gone to court and been acquitted,” Buehler said Thursday of the dual dismissal. “But it’s a relief. The last thing I need to do right now was spend three days in trial.”
An earlier version of this story indicated that Buehler was arrested for failure to disobey the order of a police officer. The typo has been corrected.