Criminalizing Disobedience: Adam Kokesh is Arrested for “Assaulting” Officer

By on May 21, 2013

by John Glaser

Adam Kokesh got his start in anti-government activism as an Iraq Veteran Against the War. He admirably broke Army military rules by protesting the war in his U.S. Marine uniform, and was soon discharged as punishment.

Since then, Kokesh, who had a short-lived television show on Russia Today (now it’s produced independently on his website) has been outspoken on a number of libertarian issues. He’s been arrested numerous times for his non-violent political activism. Something that has gained particular attention very recently is his plan to get at least 1,000 people to march from Virginia into Washington, DC on July 4th armed with loaded guns. He and his followers have vowed to keep it peaceful and after news that the DC police squads plan to meet him at the bridge coming into DC, Kokesh said he plans to simply turn around and walk back to Virginia.

Many in the libertarian movement have caustically criticized Kokesh for his brazenness. Granted, a group of armed libertarians meeting up with DC police squads could be very dangerous, despite promises to remain peaceful. But most of their criticism seems more about criticizing civil disobedience and activism in general, concerned it will reflect poorly on their deferential image. Too many want to regulate the behavior of libertarians and keep things strictly to suits, ties, academic seminars, and writing pedantic policy papers barely anyone will read – as if that’s the only acceptable or productive way to push libertarian ideas.

The state is all about crushing real dissent and punishing the disobedient. No matter how bad things get, no matter how lawless the supposed law-enforcers become, I’m troubled by libertarians who condemn those who refuse to sit up straight and obey the overlords in Washington. Kokesh has consistently refused to be obedient – and I say, more power to him.

This past weekend, Kokesh attended a marijuana legalization event in Philadelphia. Armed with a nothing but a microphone, Kokesh and several dozen others counted down from ten to light up their joints in defiance of the authoritarian drug prohibitions. From the footage, you can see officers marching into the center of the crowd, where Kokesh was, and arresting him. According to many who were there, Kokesh did not himself smoke any weed. But he seemed to be a priority compared to the countless others there illegally smoking marijuana that police briskly walked by without any intent to arrest. You can also see from the several videos taken at the scene that Kokesh did not resist arrest, and instead put his hands up and stood straight while several officers man-handled him.

According to Kokesh is being charged with grabbing an officer’s arm after being pushed – a “felony assault.” The video doesn’t show any evidence of that allegation, but either way, the arrest is an affront to liberty.

As Anthony Gregory writes yesterday, “Resisting arrest is a troubling derivative crime, whereby the state can basically push you around, and if you even react naturally (or the state says you did), it can haul you away. Putting aside problems of arrest, jailing, and the state itself, there should be no crime of ‘resisting arrest’ in a semi-free society. Either you committed a violation of someone’s rights or you did not. If you did not, you have a moral right to resist.”

Is it possible that Adam is being charged with these offenses in order to obstruct his planned march in July? I don’t know. But in any case, what we have here is a peaceful activist, a non-violent resister, and he’s been thrown in jail not for being harmful to anybody’s person or property, but for being disobedient in the face of unjust laws. The latter is a crime only to those with authoritarian inclinations and a calm respect for the police state.

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  1. Kenneth Moore

    May 21, 2013 at 1:43 am

    It does saying his website,, that the armed march on DC will happen with or without him. Is only one man with the idea, it is up to us (the people) to make it happen.

  2. davidhart

    May 21, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Cops are cunts.

  3. Linconl

    May 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Adam Kokesh needs looked at more closely. I like him and then see this:

  4. Gryphyn3

    May 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    If you keep up to date with this you would know that he was questioned before a judge on monday about if he owns firearms or not, and because he chose to remain silent he was thrown back in jail. He also clearly did not assault anyone if you watch the video of his arrest and the initial charge that was laid was “resisting arrest” and wasn’t changed until later monday after he saw the judge. He is also being denied telephone calls which is a basic right. He is also being held without any mention of bail. The intent is clear on the FEDS part. They do not want this march to happen and are imprisoning Adam for his political beliefs. Which is a clear violation of constitutional law.

  5. eddy

    May 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    To reach the Police Commissioner’s Office, email:, or call 215.686.3280.

  6. sharon

    May 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    What I am amazed at is that the police IQ has now been proven lowered, if that is possible. They knowingly went into an area being videoed and made an arrest. Even if possession can be charged, and disparity in treatment is proven, Mr. Kokesh can be held accountable. It goes against the very core of fairness and justice, but that’s our ‘laws’ at present.

    For example, if you are the 10th car in line of 20 that are doing 70 mph on a 55 mph stretch of highway, say in Assachusetts, and are pulled over and given a $200 ticket for speeding, go to court and argue you were one of many and it wasn’t fair, the outcome would be guilty. Unless you are a friend, of course, of former Judge White from Plymouth Dist Ct. in MA.

    In my Law and Justice courses at U/MA, a very wise and smart professor asked, “Are all laws just?” Well, that was the beginning of a lengthy discussion that concluded with Man Made Law vs. Universal Law. And that is why we are still battling man made laws…because they are contra to our universal ones which our Forefathers termed ‘inalienable rights’…even, shall I dare write it, ‘God given’.

    • NinjaMan

      May 21, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Well written Sharon.

  7. Chris Dougherty

    May 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    It’s no surprise Adam has been arrested once again 🙂 he’s got a knack for it. They love to assert their authority, and I’d say primarily they’re interested in paying him back for the grief he has caused, to other fellow officers, derilicts, all.
    What we need is a grass roots system for law enforcement. Each law office needs to be held accountable by the locals, rated, judged and in the spotlight. There should be heavy competition for the job, not like it is now, where once you become an officer you have to basically commit cold blooded murder in the middle of 100 people to ever get more than a slap on the wrist.
    Go adam 🙂

    • Andrew

      May 23, 2013 at 9:28 am

      Chris Dougherty- it sounds like you are talking about the Constitutional office of County Sheriff! It exists, we just need to demand its return to its former glory.

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