Adam Kokesh, an author, freedom activist, and hopeful Libertarian candidate for the 2020 presidential election was arrested January 2nd in New Orleans after refusing to give a police officer identification. The officer had confronted Kokesh and two of his friends for an apparent parking violation. Kokesh caught the altercation with the law on video, and his team has been updating supporters of his status on social media. According to a tweet from Friday, Kokesh is set to be released within 24 hours.
Kokesh is no stranger to being arrested, and has developed a rather large following for viral videos involving his public conflicts with law enforcement. A notable arrest occurred in 2011 when Kokesh was handled rather violently by law enforcement for being part of a dancing flash mob in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
According to his social media posts and website, Kokesh and his friends were in New Orleans for the “Big Easy Book Bomb”, a political activism event that aimed to hand out a free copy of Kokesh’s book, titled Freedom!, to every residential mailbox in New Orleans. His team raised $131,000 to pull off the event, according to information posted on his website.
The Book Bomb is set to run from January 4th to January 11th, followed by a town hall on the 13th. Aside from putting a copy of the book in each mailbox, Kokesh’s team also planned to put out political yard signs on road intersections, as well as sidewalk chalking in order to further promote the event and Kokesh’s political beliefs.
According to the video of his arrest, Kokesh and his friends were confronted by law enforcement when they pulled over to leave a stencilled message by pressure washing a dirty concrete barrier. As they attempted to leave this “water stencil”, the police approached them, and told them they were stopped “illegally” on the side of the road.
The police officer then asked Kokesh, who notably was sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle, for identification. Kokesh refused to comply with this request, instead reading his rights off of a small card. The officer escalated the situation, and claimed that Kokesh and his team were “interfering with the investigation”, then proceeded to handcuff Kokesh and arrest him.
Arguably, this arrest adds more publicity to Kokesh’s Book Bomb, which he noted in an update video was the event he had raised the most amount of funds for in order to pull off. The arrest was very “on brand” for Kokesh, and the video seems to have rallied fans and has gotten notice from Libertarian sites like Reason and the Libertarian Republic.
Freedom! was actually written by Kokesh while he was in jail, and acts as a manifesto of sorts for his libertarian and voluntarist based views. The full ebook, audio book, pdf, and other forms can all be found for free on Kokesh’s website.
[Edit] A social media post on January 5th stated that Kokesh was let out of jail with charges dropped. He also stated a video announcement would come out Monday.