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APD officer Baldridge blocks & assaults cop watcher

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Published on Dec 2, 2015

During a Peaceful Streets Project cop watch in downtown Austin on the night of June 13, 2015, Officer Zachary Scott Baldridge #7042 violated APD policy and Texas state law by interfering with Antonio Buehler's ability to film the police and by assaulting him for doing so.

Listed below is the formal complaint Buehler submitted to the Office of the Police Monitor in an attempt to document the incident in advance of Officer Baldridge violently beating, framing, raping, or murdering someone in the future so that people can't claim that he was such a great cop with no history of misconduct. We do not believe he will be disciplined, fired, arrested, or tried because APD cops are allowed to get away with rape and murder:

"I am a member of the Peaceful Streets Project. We are a grassroots community activist organization that attempts to change culture so that police do not abuse people or commit crimes, and so that members of the public will hold the police accountable. One of our primary activities as an organization is filming the police (“cop watch”) while they are performing their duties in public. On the night of June 13, 2015, I joined a group of Peaceful Streets Project volunteers downtown to cop watch in the Sixth Street area. During that cop watch I observed a disturbance taking place on the sidewalk at 415 E. Sixth Street.

"As I moved toward the disturbance to film the interaction between police officers and a man who was likely detained, Officer Zachary Baldridge #7042 looked over his left shoulder and saw me advancing toward the scene. Although I was clearly not interfering and other people were closer to the incident than I was (as can be seen by the fact that people walked between me and the incident), Baldridge seems to be solely concerned with my vantage point as a cop watcher.

"With Baldridge in my way (1st attempt to block my view), I first raised my camera, and then stepped to the left. By trying to block my ability to film the incident, Baldridge clearly violated APD policy 302.2(c)5, “Intentionally block or obstruct cameras or recording devices.” As Baldridge drifted to his right (2nd) I moved further left. As Baldridge again stepped to his right to block my shot (3rd), I then stepped to my right. Baldridge then immediately stepped to his left to block my shot (4th). As I then stepped left to get an unobstructed view of the incident I told Baldridge, “Stop blocking my view.” He then stepped to his right to again block my view (5th). I again said, Stop blocking my view” as I moved to my right and raised my camera above eye level to avoid his head blocking my shot as he again moved to his left (6th).

"SGT Randy Dear who has repeatedly interfered with our ability to film police interactions then comes into the scene and yells, “step back.” As Dear pushed Baldridge forward I then stepped to my left, again, and Baldridge then again moved to his right to block my view (7th). As I moved to my right to try to get a clear shot I asked Baldridge, “Why are you blocking my view, you don’t like my First Amendment rights?” As I was asking the question, he again moved to his left to block my ability to film the incident (8th), so I again moved to my left. As he moved to his right to block my ability to film the incident (9th) I moved again to the right. As Baldridge moved to his left to block my ability to film the incident (10th), I finally stopped and allowed him to block my camera angle with his head, as he intended.

"When I finally allowed Baldridge to accomplish his goal of blocking my camera shot with his head, he then said something to the effect of, “now get your hand outta my face” as he assaulted me by shoving me in the chest and pushing me back. Baldridge’s actions easily fit within the legal definition of assault under Texas Penal Code 22.01(a)3, “intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.”

"Had I shoved Baldridge back in response to his assault, I would have most certainly been arrested for assaulting a police officer and aggressively prosecuted for it. Because Baldridge, who is a sworn peace officer who reportedly has a duty to protect and serve, assaulted me in response to my Constitutionally protected right to film the police, he should be disciplined and indefinitely suspended by the Austin Police Department and he should be prosecuted by the District Attorney."

June 13, 2015

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