A leader of the Not F***ing Around Coalition (NFAC), a group of black militias who held armed demonstrations for justice for Breonna Taylor, was charged with allegedly pointing a gun at law enforcement officials.
Also known as The Real Grandmaster Jay, John Fitzgerald Johnson, 57, is accused of assaulting federal task force officers in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 4.
The complaint alleges that Johnson “violently assaulted, resisted, resisted, obstructed, intimidated, and disturbed Louisville subway, federal and intelligence officials,” by pointing a rifle at them the day before the NFAC was scheduled to hold a rally that coincided with the Kentucky Derby, where charges were to be filed for the shooting of Taylor.
Task force officers were on the roof of the Jefferson County Grand Jury Building in Louisville, watching Jefferson Square Park, where armed protesters gathered.
During their surveillance, some of the officers were blinded by a light that they later saw as a flashlight on an AR platform gun that Johnson allegedly pointed at them.
“All of the officers indicated that Johnson might intentionally or even accidentally fire a shot at them,” the charges said. “All officers realized that the distance between them and Johnson was well within the effective range of an AR platform rifle.
The prosecutors said that none of the officers had drawn their handguns, and only one of the officers had a rifle with him that he did not point at Johnson or the other NFAC members.
“Here in Kentucky, we value our First and Second Amendment freedoms, not stupidity that puts police and protesters in grave danger,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman.
“The FBI respects the right of individuals to exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully,” added Robert Brown of the FBI’s Louisville SAC division.
“Our duty to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution is a dual and simultaneous, not contradictory, task. Accordingly, we have an obligation to investigate violent behavior and those who exploit legitimate, peaceful protests and participate in violations of federal law.
Johnson, 57, of West Chester, Ohio, was arrested at his home on December 3 and appeared before a federal judge in Louisville on Thursday to face charges. If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Johnson announced in August that NFAC, which first attracted national attention with its protest demanding the removal of a Confederate monument in Georgia, would return to Kentucky on September 5 to demand justice for Taylor once again.
Taylor was shot several times by Louisville police on March 13 after officers served a warrant without a search warrant in her home during a drug investigation. Since then, there have been increasing calls for criminal charges against the officers involved in connection with her death.
Former officer Brett Hankison is the only person charged with the shooting. He is charged with three counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree after several shots fired at Taylor’s house penetrated the walls of her neighbor’s apartment.