Austin activist says he was arrested for recording police

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

khou.com

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 7:35 AM

AUSTIN -- It's the second time an Austin man has been jailed after recording police making an arrest.

Antonio Buehler was arrested Aug. 26 around 1 a.m. on 6th Street. He was recording a man's arrest when Austin police officers asked him to get back. After several warnings, Buehler was arrested.

"We're not yelling at the cops. We're not getting in the face of the cops. We are keeping a safe distance the entire time," Buehler said. "It was a do-nothing third party cop who had nothing else to do except come harass us."

"Once it steps over the line that it starts to interfere in our duties to perform our jobs is when we need to say, 'OK, we need you to back off because it's becoming a very unsafe environment,'" said Austin Police Department Commander Troy Gay.

Gay says there is no set distance people have to be while recording. He's requesting 50 to 60 feet as a courtesy. He's also working on a new policy to give officers guidance in situations like these.

The law gives police officers discretion to decide if someone is interfering with an arrest. The First Amendment gives activists the right to record police in public places. Ultimately, how close you're allowed to get is up to the officer. In Buehler's case, a judge will decide.

Buehler's camera was seized and turned over for evidence. Gay says APD won't release the video until the investigation is complete.

 

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