OPINION: Peaceful Streets Founder Antonio Buehler Is Wrong
VAPA has spent thousands of dollars on Peaceful Streets Project events and Antonio’s defense fund, sadly today we must denounce Antonio Buehler for his demagoguery.
It is long overdue.
We support other Peaceful Streets Project folks who take a principled stand for police accountability, and hope they are able to overcome the liability that Antonio presents.
This is not a personal attack on Antonio, we acknowledge the many good things he has done for police accountability, and we understand his frustrations. But his emotional rhetoric is not only false, it is destructive to the cause of police accountability.
We believe it is time for Antonio Beuhler to apologize and retract his recent hateful statements, or to step down from the Peaceful Streets Project.
For years Antonio has expressed his view that there are no good cops.
He has been privately and publicly corrected on his assertion by the founder of VAPA.
Such criticisms have been consistently met with vitriol and anger by some PSP members and Antonio, and have resulted in Antonio banning and de-friending on social media those who would offer those criticisms.
It has become apparent that Antonio’s irresponsible statements and professions are can no longer be excused simply as emotional frustration that he can rise above.
In the latest challenge, when presented with several examples of good cops whistle blowing, physically restraining police officers in the act of brutality, and then being fired for doing so, Antonio responded that they still are not good cops because good cops would take a stand to the point where they are killed.
Antonio’s muscular viewpoint can now be summed up with the statement that “the only good cop is a dead cop.”
Bueler also recently stated: “Cops are bad. There is no such thing as a good cop. They’re terrorist scum.”
We reject this assertion.
Sadly we therefore must reject Antonio Buehler’s leadership of the Peaceful Streets Project – a citizen activism group that is larger than its founder.
We also do not accept the excuse that Peaceful Streets Project recently put out on its blog to justify its now infamous Twitter statement concerning a Harris County Sheriff being murdered these words:
Pig executed in Houston. Probably shouldn’t have joined a criminal gang. His bad decisions caught up with him. Blame his parents.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo (himself a bad cop unworthy of public office) responded with strategic success to Antonio’s Tweet stating, “This is how mind of so-called peaceful activist works & why police officers don’t want him inches from their face.”
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right Whether It’s Police Or Activists
While Antonio Buehler attempted to explain that PSP was now mirroring how police refer to victims of police brutality, the excuse is undercut by Antonio’s frequent statements that there are no good cops, all cops are bad, terrorists, scum, etc.
While this comment was justified by Antonio and PSP as simply mirroring how police demonize victims of police abuse, Antonio’s consistent statements over the years show that he is not mirroring the demonization employed by bad cops, but rather that he shares it.
Poor Antonio is losing the inner struggle, and descending into the jungle of filth which he opposes.
Isn’t preventing this very circumstance – the inflaming of hatred between ordinary people and the state why our wise founders in 1791 enacted a citizen’s Bill of Rights?
We hope the Peaceful Streets Project can evolve beyond its founder and his demagoguery’s ascent over the issues they protest.
While de-humanization of an entire group based simply on group association is a good way to build numbers and organize, as history has most certainly shown, it is not a good way to secure justice.
It is wrong, and based on hate, and ignorance.
It is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
In our view, Antonio Buehler has long exceeded his utility for police accountability and suffers from either a lack of character, a lack of emotional control, or both.
His words make it clear that Antonio now shares the attitudes, insecurity, and ego of bad cops who also demonize groups based simply on association rather than individualized suspicion.
It’s a sad statement in America when we citizens must learn how to be police – and are the only upholders of proper police standards of suspicion – in order to police the police.
Admittedly, Antonio has been abused by the Austin Police Department – and been filmed having his civil rights violated in public.
Unfortunately now, Antonio is far too similar to bad cops with his hate and demagoguery, his desire to insulate his own “troops” from criticism and voices of the larger community, and his lack of concern for being accurate when diagnosing the challenges Americans face with a very real police state.
Whatever Antonio is working for today, it is not police accountability.
Peaceful Streets Project doesn’t exist to provide an emotional outlet for insecure cult-like-leader who preaches hatred.
We at VAPA are concerned that Antonio is willing to squander the gains made by the many courageous people who have worked so hard in the Peaceful Streets Project – including PINAC correspondents – to document police abuse.
While PSP’s founder’s sins reflect poorly on the group today, it should be noted that he braved all forms of public abuse, the system, jail, brutality and open civil rights violation to build a following, and for good or bad he will always be recognized as it’s founder.
Maybe it is just that time for Antonio to move onto other projects, to form something new and different and instruct one special member of the group he’s toiled to build shoulder the load as the new Leader of the Peaceful Streets Project. The founder of any organization that lasts will always be remembered as The Founder one day.
We hope the Peaceful Streets Project can overcome this challenge with new leadership, and get back to working for police accountability.
Rick Rynearson is the founder of Veterans Against Police Abuse.
Ed. Note: Antonio Buehler’s name has been spell corrected.