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Buehler loses appeal

Friday, June 3, 2016 by Jo Clifton

Austin activist Antonio Buehler, founder of the Peaceful Streets Project, has lost the appeal of his civil case against the Austin Police Department and four of its officers. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the decision by the district court in Austin to dismiss the case, which started with Buehler’s first arrest in January 2012 while he filmed interactions between APD officers and other citizens. Buehler claimed that the officers were interfering with his constitutional rights when they arrested him. However, the Fifth Circuit, widely viewed as one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country, ruled that the officers and the city were not liable for damages. There is considerable disagreement between Buehler and officers about what happened on those occasions when he was arrested while filming. For example, Officer Patrick Oborski said Buehler was “verbally aggressive, spit in his face and violently resisted arrest” during one apprehension. Buehler denies that. He had been charged with felony harassment of a public servant and resisting arrest, among other infractions. State magistrates and a grand jury found probable cause for each of Buehler’s arrests. Because of those findings, the officers cannot be held liable for essentially doing their jobs, the court said. However, a jury found Buehler not guilty of the only charge he has been tried for, failure to obey a lawful order.

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