On Saturday afternoon, #WalkAway movement founder Brandon Straka headlined a rally called “No Guts, No Glory” in Beverly Hills, California. The rally marked the movement’s first event, and Straka’s first public appearance since he was incarcerated and charged with a felony for his part in the January 6, 2021, Capitol protests. His crime, in his words? Standing on the Capitol steps—a restricted area. The technical charges: impeding a law enforcement officer during civil disorder, knowingly entering and remaining on restricted grounds without lawful authority and/or 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. Phew.
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) May 21, 2022
Straka is a self-described former liberal who in 2019 founded the viral #WalkAway campaign to encourage people to—you guessed it—walk away from the Democrat party. According to its website, the movement has over one million followers on social media, and 10,000-plus written and video testimonials from people who changed their views. (RedState’s Kira Davis told her own such story.)
Straka was energetic as he spoke in front of a rowdy crowd in front of Beverly Hills City Hall. After speaking about how excited he was to be back after all this time —though admittedly battered and bruised by his ordeal—he went on to tell the story of his arrest after attending the January 6 protests at the Capitol. Armed agents showed up at his door, handcuffed him, issued a search warrant, started taking his belongings, and then marched him off to jail. He continued:
I spent two-and-a-half days in a jail cell, with no knowledge other than fact that I was facing, as they told me, multiple felony charges for the eight minutes that I stood on the east side of the Capitol steps. I did not go inside the Capitol on January 6, I was never accused of going inside the Capitol January 6, in fact the DOJ made it quite clear that they knew I didn’t enter the building. They also made it quite clear that they knew that I didn’t engage in any violence, vandalism, theft, or destruction.
CNN, however, tells a different story. They claim Straka recorded himself telling the mob to “go go go” as they reached the Capitol, and telling rioters who were wrestling a shield away from a US Capitol Police officer to “take it, take it.”
However, when I spoke to Straka Saturday, he told me that he was trying to help a girl move away from the crowd, and not inciting anyone. You can listen to his minute-by-minute, detailed breakdown here in this interview with syndicated talk radio and Fox News host Mark Levin, which includes Straka’s quite intense video of the episode. (You will need to scroll down a bit to the section “My Story.”)
Wonderful day in Beverly Hills today with @BrandonStraka, @joshDenny, @roxannehoge, @shemekamichelle, and the #WalkAway movement. Proud to stand with Brandon and other decent Americans wrongfully persecuted for partisan reasons by our corrupt government. pic.twitter.com/AWOUHkVhMq
— Nick Searcy, INT'L FILM & TV STAR SINCE 1776 (@yesnicksearcy) May 22, 2022
Under immense pressure and just wanting the nightmare to end, Straka says, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct in October 2021. In January of this year, he was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $5,000.
He’s been quiet since his arrest on the advice of his lawyer, but now he’s back on center stage, and he’s full of energy. Will he be able to regain the viral momentum of his movement? Time will tell, but if the enthusiastic crowd was any indication, his prospects look good.
The event also featured Actor-Director Nick Searcy (Gosnell, Capitol Punishment), Blaze Contributor Shemeka Michelle, comedian Josh Denny, writer Mikey Harlow, culture commentator Gothix, actress and LA County Board of Supervisors candidate (and this author’s wife) Roxanne Beckford Hoge, lawyer and CA assembly candidate Bill Essayli, actor and also assembly candidate Siaka Massaquoi, OANN anchor Dan Ball, and others.
In closing, here is the original video that started the #WalkAway phenomenon: