In a detention letter released today, the federal government revealed details about its investigation into Eric Munchel, the 30-year-old walking “hey authority” meme better known as Zip Tie Guy. Munchel’s combat-ready outfit became a widespread symbol of January 6th’s violent insurrection, and his affiliation with Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk has already caused the rap-rock steakhouse chain some pain.
Fittingly for an attempted coup that managed to be at once viscerally terrifying and fantastically stupid, Munchel’s journey to the Capitol and eventual detention is a wild exercise in bloodlust and idiocy. Investigators reported finding a stockpile of 15 weapons in Munchel’s Tennessee home that included a sniper rifle with a tripod; they also found some plastic handcuffs similar to those he’d allegedly picked up in D.C., tagged and photographed next to some Bud Light Seltzer beer coozies.
But perhaps most importantly, they reportedly found what sounds like a very long video Munchel took of himself and his mother trying to do a coup.
The memo, first reported by News 4 Nashville, gives a detailed account of Munchel’s January 6th thanks in large part to extensive cell phone footage the former bartender unwisely captured and then tried to hide once it was clear he’d attracted attention from the feds—attention, it should be said, he somewhat invited when he and his mother gave interviews and appeared on livestreams throughout the day to indicate they were “willing to rise up, band together, and fight if necessary.” Or when he entered the capitol wearing military fatigues, gloves, and a tactical vest emblazoned with the Punisher.
According to the government, Munchel and his mother stayed in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where the pair gave a live-streamed interview and briefly interacted with the cops with little incident. From there, the mother-son coup squad attended Trump’s rally and marched to the Capitol, where Munchel first-bumped an Oath Keeper and helped rioters scale the wall. After some discussion, the pair stashed most of the weapons they’d brought just outside the building based on the conviction that they’d be “going straight to federal prison” if they brought them along. Once inside, the pair allegedly spotted some plastic handcuffs, to which Munchel exclaimed, “Zipties. I need to get me some of them motherfuckers,” which, as we all know, he did.
To reiterate, investigators say they collected all this evidence from a video Munchel allegedly took with an iPhone that was strapped to his chest.
Relying heavily on the internet users who identified Munchel as the man in the now-viral Getty photograph that earned him the nickname Zip Tie Guy, the feds requested a warrant shortly after the 6th and say they recovered a large cache of weapons as well as the vest Munchel was wearing that day. They also seized a cellphone that Munchel had incidentally given to a friend for “safekeeping” not long before they arrived.
The memo makes frequent reference to a Sunday Times article published shortly after the riot to bolster its claim that Munchel remains an imminent threat and a flight risk: In the interview Munchel described his actions as “a kind of flexing of muscles.” His mother, who was also photographed during the day wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying flex cuffs and has since been arrested, cited censorship of the far-right on social media sites as grounds for a violent overthrow of the government:
“This country was founded on revolution. If they’re going to take every legitimate means from us, and we can’t even express ourselves on the internet, we won’t even be able to speak freely, what is America for? I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression. I’d rather die and would rather fight.”
As they were approaching the Capitol, according to the memo, an unnamed person can be heard on Munchel’s video making a reference to “treason.”
“Hell yeah it is,” Munchel replies.