Libertarian gun rights activist Adam Kokesh — who canceled plans to lead an armed march into Washington from Virginia on July 4th — has been arrested at his home in his northern Virginia on charges related to a video he made showing him loading a shotgun in downtown Washington in violation of strict local laws.
Kokesh, a former Marine, was also charged with alleged narcotics violations, according to local police in Virginia. Kokesh, who has mounted high-profile protests in the past, initially announced his arrest in a statement on his website.
“We were expecting this. We were expecting the government to raid our house,” Darrell Young, Kokesh’s roommate, told WRC-TV.
WRC also said Kokesh had refused to leave his cell Wednesday morning for his arraignment.
U.S. Park Police Lt. Pamela Smith told The Washington Post that the agency executed a search warrant at Kokesh’s home in Herndon, looking for a weapon.
U.S. Park Police, which oversees Freedom Plaza in Washington where the video was made last week, did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Lt. Jim Moore of the Herndon, Va., police confirmed Kokesh’s arrest to USA TODAY, but said it was a federal operation and that his officers were there only to “hold the perimeter” and keep the street blocked.
He confirmed that Kokesh was arrested on federal charges related to narcotics possession and weapons violations linked to the video.
In its account of the arrest, Kokesh’s website statement claims that officers did not announce they had a warrant, used a battering ram to knock down his door, and employed a flash bang grenade in the foyer of his house.
The website also claims that numerous police vehicles, including a light-armored vehicle and two helicopters, were used to block the streets while 20 armored SWAT team members surrounded his house.
“At one point, Adam politely requested to use the restroom and was kicked by the officer forcing him to sit handcuffed on the floor,” the statement said.
Moore, of the Herndon police, said he had no details on the circumstances of Kokesh’s arrest because his officers were not directly involved in taking him into custody. Kokesh was being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
In the video, titled “Open Carry March on DC A Success,” which was posted on YouTube, Kokesh speaks directly into the camera while loading the weapon.
“We will not obey, we will not allow our government to destroy our humanity,” he says. “We are the final American revolution. See you next Independence Day.”
Kokesh told NBC4 News on Monday that he had indeed loaded the weapon with live ammo in the morning of July 4 in downtown Washington.
He said it did not make sense that he could have a gun on one side of the Potomac river, in Virginia, and not the other.
“I was ready to stand by my word, and I was ready to commit the civil disobedience that I had committed to,” he said.
Kokesh had planned to lead a group of activists armed with weapons across the bridge from Virginia into Washington on July 4, but canceled the event, urging supporters instead to demonstrate at the state capitols.