"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Saturday, September 5, 2015

VAPA Denounces Antonio Buehler

From the Veterans Against Police Abuse FB page:

It is long overdue.  While VAPA has spent thousands of dollars on Peaceful Streets Project events and Antonio's defense fund, we must denounce Antonio for his demagoguery.  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, but destructive to the cause of police accountability.  We believe it is time for him to apologize and retract his hateful statements, or to step down from the PSP.

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 defriending on social media those who would offer those criticisms.  It has become apparent that Antonio's irresponsible statements and professions are not simply 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 verbose view can be summed up with the statement that "the only good cop is a dead cop."

Antonio recently stated: "Cops are bad.  There is no such thing as a good cop.  They're terrorist scum."

We reject this assertion and we therefore must reject Antonio.

We also do not accept the excuse that Peaceful Streets Project put out on its blog to justify its Twitter statement concerning a Harris County Sheriff being murdered: "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."

While Antonio's Peaceful Streets Project attempted to explain that they were simply 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.

We hope the Peaceful Streets Project can evolve beyond its founder and his demagoguery.  While demonetization 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 he shares the attitudes, insecurity, and ego of bad cops who also demonize groups based simply on association rather than on evidence of individual action.  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, it is not police accountability.  We are concerned that he is willing to squander the gains made by the many courageous people who have worked so hard in the PSP to document police abuse.

We hope the Peaceful Streets Project can overcome this challenge, and get back to working for police accountability rather than providing an emotional outlet for insecure cult-leader-like personalities who preach hatred.

Here is a response to an edited version of this opinion piece, posted as an op-ed on PhotographyIsNotaCrime.Com.

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