Brandon Straka, a gay hairdresser who founded the “Walk Away” movement meant to convince LGBTQ people to abandon the Democratic Party, has been arrested for his role in the insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Straka defiantly posted videos and other content online that reportedly showed his involvement before deleting them.
According to local news reports, Straka faces charges of impeding law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, knowingly entering and remaining on restricted grounds without lawful authority, engaging in disorderly conduct within proximity to a restricted building to impede official functions, and engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to disturb a hearing before Congress.
He openly challenged major Republicans who claimed that the armed rioters who stormed the Capitol were actually Democrats in disguise. Straka was there, and he said that the attackers were exactly what they appear to be: conservatives who are mad that they lost the election.
“HOLD. THE. LINE!!!” he tweeted during the violent attack that resulted in five deaths.
Later, though, after Republicans began to denounce the violent attack on their place of work, Straka said he was “confused.”
“I’m completely confused,” he tweeted. “For 6-8 weeks everybody on the right has been saying ‘1776!’ & that if congress moves forward it will mean a revolution! So congress moves forward, Patriots storm the Capitol- now everybody is virtual [sic] signaling their embarrassment that this happened.”
“Also- be embarrassed & hide if you need to- but I was there. It was not Antifa at the Capitol. It was freedom loving Patriots who were DESPERATE to fight for the final hope of our Republic because literally nobody cares about them. Everyone else can denounce them. I will not.”
The FBI is pointing to his numerous tweets and videos as proof that he was involved. Straka has since deleted his social media accounts.
Multiple people reportedly sent the FBI a video reportedly showing Straka outside the Capitol, shouting “we’re going in!” and “Go! go!”
Another video reportedly shows Straka urging other insurrectionists to attack a Capitol police officer and rip away his protective gear. According to charging documents, Straka is heard shouting, “Take it away from him. Other people in the crowd then yelled, “Take the shield!”
As several people in the crowd grabbed the officer’s gear, Straka yelled, “Take it! Take it!”
Straka will have his first court appearance on Tuesday. Until then, he remains in federal custody.