One of the leading indicators of the diseased nature of our political system is the dramatic militarization of and the increasingly brazen acts of inhumanity carried out by those calling themselves “law enforcement.” We’ve moved into another era of popular resistance to the existing power structures unseen since the late 1960s. Police are transitioning from the task of the last 40 years–satisfying the racist demands of the power structure by locking-up non-whites for non-crimes–back to the job of cracking down on political dissent and disobedience.
One thing authoritarian thugs will absolutely not countenance is being called out for their thuggery. It’s a rare, brave, and disciplined soul who would even dare to challenge a uniformed police officer–a state agent with the power to do literally anything to any “normal” without repercussions.
One such hero is Austin’s own Antonio Buehler, who attempted to intervene–not physically, apparently he wasn’t suicidal–while cops assaulted a 100 pound woman (pictured) at a gas station early on New Year’s day.
I leave it to you to review the facts of the case, should you be disinclined to accept my opinion. As far as I can tell, Antonio, who was probably the only sober person in Austin at that point in time, did nothing illegal and certainly nothing wrong (and yes, those are largely unrelated categories). His ongoing entanglement with the “justice” system since that night is entirely due to his failure to submit and obey. It’s also a highlight reel for modern american “police work.”
Antonio is facing 10 years in prison for “felony harassment of a public servant.” You see, one officer took a couple minutes off from abusing the young woman to shove Antonio around. When Antonio put his hands in the air and backed away, refusing to engage the officer physically, the cop dragged him to the ground and arrested him. He was accused him of 1. charging the “officer” and 2. spitting in this face.
Historically, Anthony Buehler would be at the whim of the “justice” system and would join the legion of other previously free people about whom some bullshit charge was ginned up for the purpose of putting them in cages for large parts of their lives.
Unfortunately for brazen, legalized thuggery, the 21st century has seen a proliferation of recording devices, and there was somebody across the street videoing the entire encounter. Also unfortunately for those who would lock up a stranger for 10 years just because they want to: Antonio is a pretty industrious fellow. Beside finding the person who recorded the event, he also found other witnesses who were willing to testify to his innocence.
Additionally, he’s actively pursued getting the dashboard camera footage released. As per usual, when they contain evidence of officer misconduct–which is most of the time--the footage is sequestered
while “under review” by some internal investigatory arm with a 100% track record of clearing officers of their crimes. I’m surprised they even admit the cameras were on and functioning and that no one “lost” the recording media.
Despite all this (and 2000+ signatures on a petition to investigate his assailants , and 6000+ members of the related facebook page), the state is moving forward with its attempt to put Antonio in a cage. It’s reasonably likely, despite being clearly in the right at every point in the encounter, he’ll go to prison. It’s almost certainly the case that, despite committing a series of crimes–and being awful, cretinous human beings to boot–the police involved will continue to roam the streets, abusing people and putting them in cages.
It’s important to focus the mind on the reality that this style of injustice happens to dozens or hundreds of people every single day. Anyone who faces law enforcement without witnesses is entirely at their mercy. Anybody who has already been a victim of the “justice” system (i.e, with a record), or who can’t martial the tremendous amount of mental and material resources to defend oneself against the state is going to prison.
Antonio Buehler happens to be very capable, courageous and motivated, and he had witnesses with recording devices–even he might go to prison.
Along those lines, another important point: do not fuck with Antonio Buehler. Since being attacked, he has started an organization, The Peaceful Streets Project that is distributing video devices to activists in an attempt to provide evidentiary protection to other victims of the police. The group is collecting stories from victims of Austin police, is holding “know your rights” trainings, and is organizing a Police Accountability Summit on July 14.
I’m hoping that his case is high-profile enough that they can’t cage him. As I noted at the start of the post, the state’s “justice” system is transitioning from caging undeclared political prisoners to overt and active dissidents. If the process can be stopped or slowed, it will be through efforts like Peaceful Streets Project and people of honor like Antonio Buehler.