NEW BUFFALO, Mich. — REAL News Michiana has learned the U.S. Coast Guard arrested a Granger man for alleged actions he took during the President Trump rally on January 6th, 2021. However, it turns out, there was no warrant and no evidence the 68-year-old retiree did anything illegal that day. In fact, it appears the Coast Guard was acting on an anonymous tip without first verifying the information with the FBI.
Gary Walker tells RNM he was at The Moorings Marina in New Buffalo on Saturday when he was detained and handcuffed by the Coast Guard for approximately two hours prior to him being released.
Walker says he was at the marina when he saw several Coast Guard members doing boat inspections.
“I said, ‘Are you guys doing inspections?’ And they said, ‘yeah.’ I said ‘Can I get my boat inspected?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, sure.'” Walker said. “They followed me to my boat. And, as soon as I stepped onto my dock, took about two steps, they said ‘Halt. Don’t move. Turn around.'”
At that point, Walker tells RNM, the Coast Guard informed him they were acting on a warrant from the FBI.
“They had me walk off the dock and said they were arresting me, that there’s a warrant out for my arrest from the FBI for assaulting a federal police officer at the January 6th riot.” Walker explained.
That’s when Walker says he was put into handcuffs and forced to stand in one place as onlookers heckled him.
“It was like they put me on display for everybody to see, standing there in handcuffs for approximately two hours.” Walker recalls. “It was very embarrassing. There were hundreds of people (who saw me). There were some people yelling ‘I hope you have your vaseline. You’re an insurrectionist.'”
During that time, the Coast Guard called in outside agencies including the New Buffalo Police Department.
“After about two hours they took the handcuffs off and handed me my driver’s license and said ‘You’re free to go.'” Walker told RNM. “The guys that arrested me said that somebody sent this information to them at the Coast Guard station in Michigan City and they acted on that. And then, on Saturday, somebody tipped them off and said that I was there.”
Walker says the Coast Guard never presented a warrant. And, allegedly didn’t even make a report of the incident.
“I went to the Coast Guard station (on Monday). They said they didn’t have a report. The commander said they received it (an anonymous tip with a picture) and it seemed legitimate. And, they looked it up on the FBI website under January 6th and seen that I was there on (the FBI) site. So, they acted on that.” Walker said. “I said, ‘You didn’t call the FBI to see if they wanted me?’ It doesn’t make sense.”
“My concern overall is that we all have protocols to follow. Some are based on the constitution. Some are based on internal regulations. So, with my limited information, I don’t know if the Coast Guard violated their own internal programs and protocols or violated his constitution liberties of being free from arrest without probable cause.” Walker’s attorney, Sean Drew, told RNM. “They acted on that anonymous source without verifying if the FBI had a warrant for Gary’s arrest.”
REAL News Michiana reached out to the Coast Guard to get information regarding the incident. After two days, the Coast Guard had still not responded.
JANUARY 6TH INVOLVEMENT
Walker and a friend of his were just two people of hundreds of thousands of attendees to go to the January 6th rally.
“Me and my boat member flew out and went to the rally at the Washington Monument… From there, everybody marched down to the Capitol. When we got to the Capitol, it was already happening. You could see the tear gas and what have you, the noise.” Walker explained. “I wanted to get pictures and videos… so we decided we wanted to go up front… And, that’s what I did. I took pictures and videos.”
Walker says he was not involved in any violence and never entered the Capitol building.
“If I was, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.” He said.
INTERACTIONS WITH THE FBI
Since the rally, Walker has had at least four interactions with federal agents, starting approximately one month after January 6th, 2021.
“I was contacted by the FBI by phone (in February of 2021).” Walker explained. “A guy wanted to talk to me and I told him I had nothing to say.”
A while after that, another FBI agent called. That’s when Walker says he had his attorney contact them, telling the FBI Walker was not okay meeting with them face-to-face, but he would be willing to talk to them over the phone. The FBI was negotiating a phone conversation, but it never materialized, according to Walker.
Then, in February of this year, the FBI showed up to his house. Walker was not home, so his wife called him to let him know about the interaction. Walker tells RNM he called the FBI and set up a meeting at a local coffee shop that day.
They said, ‘We’re not here to arrest you, we just want to talk.'” Walker recalled. “They asked me a bunch of questions. I answered them. They seemed fine… After about an hour, we were done.”
“My understanding, after meeting with the FBI, it would appear they were satisfied with his explanation and said you’re free to go.” Walker’s attorney, Sean Drew, told RNM.
JANUARY 6TH WEBSITE
After the rally and ensuing chaos at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, the FBI created a website with pictures in attempts to identify some attendees. Multiple pictures of Walker were posted. However, despite the FBI already identifying him, Walker’s photo is still on the January 6th page seeking tips for his identification.
“The Democrats have militarized against their opponents.” Walker said. “They’re using the government and the military to go after people who disagree with them.
“What I’d like to do is confirm everything Gary has related, but on first blush it sounds like a problem.” Attorney Sean Drew said when asked if he planned to file a lawsuit on behalf of Walker.
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