Former Marine and Libertarian activist Adam Kokesh has had his fair share of run-ins with the law over the past six years as he has acted as a visible and vocal advocate for libertarian government reforms and protested the Iraq war.
In May, Kokesh, who hosts the YouTube-based “Adam vs. The Man” radio program, announced that he would lead an armed march on Washington, D.C., on the Fourth of July to protest Federal initiatives to restrict the 2nd Amendment, a move that put him squarely in the sights of law enforcement.
Later that month, Kokesh was arrested at a marijuana prohibition protest in Philadelphia and slapped with bogus charges. Because of the legal trouble, however, it was uncertain whether the activist would be able to attend the march, and he was forced to call off the event.
But Kokesh did make it to Washington on Independence Day, and he released a video showing himself loading a shotgun in the middle of Freedom Plaza with the Capitol Building clearly shown behind him.
“We will not be silent, we will not obey, we will not allow our government to destroy our humanity,” Kokesh said as he loaded the gun. “We are the final American revolution. See you next Independence Day.”
On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Park Police executed a search warrant on Kokesh’s Northern Virginia home, reportedly looking for the weapon that he loaded in the video — though an official with the agency would not confirm whether the video prompted the search.
On Kokesh’s website, the police raid was described as follows by members of the “Adam vs. The Man” production team present during the ordeal:
The officers used a battering ram to knock in the door after two knocks, and did not announce that they had a warrant. Immediately after breaking down the door, a flash bang grenade was deployed in the foyer.
Numerous police vehicles, including a light armored vehicle and two low-flying helicopters barricaded Adam’s street. More than 20 armored SWAT team members surrounded the house, as well as a number of detectives, and plainclothes officers. Assault rifles were aimed on all members of the team as they were handcuffed without being told why they were detained. Masked and armored police in full “Storm Trooper” gear flooded in and ransacked the residence. The team was cordoned in a front room, while Adam was pulled aside for questioning.
Over the course of the next five hours, the police searched every corner of the house with canine units and blueprints to the house obtained prior to the search. All officers refused to speak to the crew while they we being detained. They confiscated cell phones and personal items with force. Throughout the ordeal, the police repeatedly showed a volatile desire to initiate aggressive, forceful conduct with detainees. At one point, Adam politely requested to use the restroom and was kicked by the officer forcing him to sit handcuffed on the floor. After hours of determined attempts, the safe was forced open and all items inside were confiscated. Adam was arrested and his crew were told he was being brought to the Herndon Police department overnight. Well after midnight, police officers cleared the house.
Kokesh’s colleagues estimated that 30 to 40 officers, several military-like vehicles and at least two helicopters were involved in the raid.
“It was a pure act of intimidation,” one roommate, who would only give his name as Jeremy, told The Washington Post.
Kokesh has reportedly been charged with possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms that the police found in the residence, a Schedule I narcotic, while possessing a firearm.
The possession charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $2,500 fine. If convicted of possession of the drugs while also in possession of a firearm, Kokesh could face a minimum of two additional years in prison.
While Kokesh did violate Washington gun laws, he certainly did not commit a violent crime. Will the Justice System prosecute him as harshly as possible in order to make an example of him? Is it possible that he won’t be harshly prosecuted and the police were simply used to increase the activist’s legitimacy so that he can be used as an agent provocateur?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.