Minneapolis, MN – A baby-faced YouTuber who films videos of himself starting confrontations with public officials was arrested after he’s accused of taking advantage of a woman he saw police helping through a mental health episode.
Police said that 20-year-old Anthony Michael Wicklace had a reputation for following officers to calls and for causing scenes in public buildings with his cameras, KMSP reported.
Wicklace has heckled officers while filming at crime scenes and harassed customers inside private businesses.
Police said the YouTuber known as the “Minnesota Guardian” has been arrested numerous times for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace but the charges never stuck because he wrapped his bad behavior in a First Amendment defense and claimed to be a member of the press, KMSP reported.
In the process, he’s developed a following of almost 14,000 subscribers on YouTube and made money for his efforts.
Wicklace defended his behavior to KMSP back in February of 2020 and claimed his confrontations were “First Amendment Audits.”
“At the end of the day, I’m trying to inform the public about the rights they have as an American citizen,” he said. “The whole point is to use your rights. You never know what’s going to happen. But you have to be prepared. Someone might not like you filming them, yet there are all these different cameras filming them. Why are they upset with me?”
More than 200 videos posted to his YouTube channel included Wicklace interrogating customers in the Department of Motor Vehicles, wearing a flak jacket into City Hall, and filming and arguing with customers at a U.S. Post Office, KMSP reported.
He also stood outside a mosque and confronted worshipers with his camera while wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) baseball cap.
“There is no expectation of privacy in a public setting; you can’t expect privacy in a public place,” Wicklace told KMSP.
But police said the 20 year old took stalking officers at police scenes to a whole new level when he spotted officers helping a woman in mental distress on Sunday night and then followed her.
Police said Wicklace approached the woman and offered her a ride home, KMSP reported.
Charging documents showed that Wicklace told the woman his name was “Tony” and that he had been trained in de-escalation skills.
According to the complaint, the victim told officers that she saw a police scanner and tactical gear inside Wicklace’s vehicle and believe he was an officer, KMSP reported.
Charging documents showed that Wicklace drives a Crown Victoria, a vehicle commonly used by police departments.
The victim told police that Wicklace offered her a ride home but then started making sexual advances, KMSP reported.
Charging documents showed he offered the woman $50 to $100 to perform oral sex on him.
She said Wicklace took out his penis and started masturbating as he drove, and then grabbed her left breast and said “You know you want me,” KMSP reported.
The woman told police she rejected his propositions and he started driving aggressively, the charging documents showed.
According to the complaint, Wicklace got off the freeway and drove into in a White Bear Lake neighborhood and pushed the victim out of his car, KSMP reported.
The victim said that after she was pushed out, Wicklace Tased her.
Then the Wicklace got out of his car and tried to stun her again with the butt end of his Taser, according to the victim.
Then he fled the scene, leaving her bleeding with Taser prongs in her shirt on the side of the road when White Bear police arrived on the scene.
The victim got his license plate number when he drove away and police tracked it back to Wicklace, KMSP reported.
Wicklace was arrested on Monday night at his home in St. Paul.
The Ramsey County Attorney charged him with second-degree assault and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, KMSP reported.
His bail was set at $60,000.