NEW BUFFALO, Mich. — REAL News Michiana has obtained exclusive bodycam video of a false arrest of Granger man by the United States Coast Guard last month. The Coast Guard made the arrest based off of a flyer sent to them from an anonymous source, then claimed the man was wanted for assaulting a federal officer at the January 6th, 2021, rally in Washington D.C. It turned out, there was no warrant.
“Our sector… they think this is like a hoax. This is fucking embarrassing as fuck. This is fucking bad.” Coast Guard member, Joseph Kusey, is heard saying to a New Buffalo Police officer as they released Gary Walker after holding him under arrest for nearly two hours.
The Coast Guard arrested Walker on June 11th of this year at the Moorings Marina in New Buffalo. However, there was no warrant and no evidence the 68-year-old retiree did anything illegal. In fact, it appears the Coast Guard was acting on an anonymous tip without first verifying the information with the FBI.
The bodycam video obtained by RNM is from the New Buffalo Police Department. The Coast Guard had called for NBPD to help with their investigation.
“For us, we had the tip, and that’s all we really needed to put him in handcuffs.” Coast Guard member, Rylan Ragar, said on the bodycam footage.
“It’s kind of weird that we don’t have a warrant but we have a flyer.” Ragar also said while laughing.
“So we have a paper saying he had an assault on a federal officer at the January 6th rally.” Ragar continues. “We were doing some boardings here and we had his boat, where he was at, and obviously we saw him and obviously we detained him. We called our NTC, our national database, they weren’t getting a hit on anything. He’s (another Coast Guard member) on the phone with the FBI trying to figure it out. But, we got a tip saying he had a warrant out for assault on a federal officer.”
The tip appears to be a fake “FBI wanted” poster that was mailed to several law enforcement agencies across the area by an anonymous source.
Subscribe to see the Fake FBI flyer sent to law enforcement across the area.
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.’”
After about an hour, a New Buffalo Police officer arrives on the scene. The New Buffalo officer checks Walker for warrants through her database. Once again, nothing comes back. However, the officer confirms her department also received a similar flyer.
“So, we have to get in touch with the FBI and figure out what they actually want to do. Because if they don’t want this guy detained, this is not good.” A member of the Coast Guard, Joseph Kusey, tells the officer.
“The fact that he doesn’t have one (a warrant) is kind of funny.” Coast Guard Member, Ragar, says. “This (making an arrest) is out of the ordinary for us…. We are trained to do it, but… We are federal officers. He’s a boarding officer. I’m a boarding officer…So, I’m a federal officer, but, like, we don’t really like do this stuff too often.”
“Now, we call like, our national database and if we get a hit we can detain, but it’s a whole process for us to arrest and stuff.” Ragar continued. “We have different rules and stuff. That’s why we call local because you guys have a lot more authority to put guys in handcuffs than we do.”
The Coast Guard holds Walker in handcuffs for nearly an hour and a half before taking off the restraints. However, he is still being held in custody. After attempting to confirm a warrant through the FBI for nearly two hours, the Coast Guard lets Walker go.
“Sorry about the misunderstanding.” One Coast Guard member says. “My apologies sir.”
JANUARY 6TH, 2021
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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