An active contributing member of his Buffalo community, Nate Buckley was maced in the face and arrested last year in April 2011 at an anti-war demonstration. Here is a short video documentary on what happened that day: http://vimeo.com/23300350.
Nate was with a group of peaceful protesters, marching through Buffalo without incident - stopping for short rallies at key locations, such as City Hall. When they reached the financial district for singing and a speak out, they stopped mostly on the sidewalk but some were on a ledge familiar to most in the group as a gathering place for the public to eat and enjoy the sun on their lunch breaks.
What the group didn’t realize was that the ledge and the area behind it - a fountain area with seats , also frequented by and in fact designed for the public - was allegedly owned by M&T Bank.
M&T Bank doesn’t normally call the police when people gather for lunch on their property but when people are there to speak out about important social issues, the formerly unrestricted space suddenly becomes off limits. Fortunately, the quick turn to violence brought by police actions was caught on video.
Rather than focusing on keeping people off of bank property, the transit police officers used intimidating tactics to break up the demonstration. They scuffled with Nate when he attempted to talk to one of the officers. One of the officers actually pulled out his taser in a move designed to instill fear in those participating in the demonstration. The police steered protesters onto the area allegedly owned by M & T Bank by dragging and eventually spraying mace directly into Nate’s eyes, inches away from his face!
Nate is accused of trespassing, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. He faces up over two years in prison if convicted on all counts. His trial lasted a week and a half, however, a mistrial was declared after one juror had an improper communication with the judge. Now, the District Attorney is ready to use the vast weight and resources of his office to try Nate once again.
The prosecution brought up Nate’s and even his family members’ active involvement in their community with important social and environmental issues as if this was evidence of a crime. The prosecution also brought up the fact that Nate spoke out about what happened to various news outlets as if this exercise of First Amendment rights was an example of guilt.
It is clear from the video evidence that the only person that suffered as a result of this incident was Nate Buckley. In his brief time on the force, the NFTA officer that maced Nate in the face had already thrown an elderly man on the ground because he for using a bus station restroom. (http://www.buffalonews.com/city/police-courts/courts/article202874.ece)
The prosecution of this case is an affront to free speech and our right to assemble. The charges against Nate should be dropped immediately! Sign our petition to the District Attorney urging him to drop the case against Nate.
PS- Nate now needs to raise money for another trial with a new attorney - any amount small or large helps. If you want to help, go to this website:
Drop the Charges Against Nate Buckley
We are asking you to do your part to ensure the pending criminal charges against Nate Buckley are dropped.
Enough taxpayer money has already been wasted on this case. It is an outrage that the prosecution has gone this far.
There was no damage to property and the only person harmed in this case is the person being prosecuted, Nate Buckley.
Nate is being accused of trespassing on an area that is commonly used by the public- the only reason he and the other demonstrators were asked to leave was because they were protesting.
The ensuing police aggression against Nate was in no way targeted to protect the property- the officers in fact dragged him and led a concerned crowd back onto bank property.
As Americans, we have a right to free speech and protest without fear of heavy handed police tactics and brutality.
It is also discouraging to the ideas of free speech and community organizing to prosecute a case by focusing so heavily on the protected first amendment activity of Nate and his family, their community involvement, speech and politics.
There are more important things to spend our taxpayer dollars on. Please protect the safety of the citizens of WNY and defend the public’s right to free speech and assembly by ensuring that the charges against Nate Buckley are dropped.