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Leader of all-black armed militia arrested for allegedly aiming firearm at officers

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The founder of Atlanta-based NFAC (the “Not F**king Around Coalition”) which is an all-Black militia, has been arrested on federal charges after the FBI alleges he aimed a rifle at federally deputized task force officers during a September rally in Louisville, Kentucky. Johnson claims he was simply exercising his constitutional rights.

The FBI took John Fitzgerald Johnson, also known as Grand Master Jay, into custody on Thursday at his home in West Chester, Ohio, and he was brought to the Oldham County Jail. The 57-year-old appeared before a federal judge in Louisville later in the afternoon and the judge appointed the Office of the Federal Defender to represent him. A combined preliminary and detention hearing is set for Friday. If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

The criminal complaint says the suspect “forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, and interfered with federally deputized task force officers” when he aimed a rifle at them.

Officers with the FBI, Louisville police, and the Secret Service had demonstrators under surveillance on September 4 at Jefferson Square Park during a protest related to the killing of Breonna Taylor. A probable cause affidavit states that a Louisville Metro Police Department radio transmission told officers a group of “six to eight heavily armed individuals” were near a parking garage.

Police and task force officers (TFOs) were staking out the roof of the Jefferson County Grand Jury building to watch what was transpiring below. Suddenly some of the officers were blinded by a light, according to the federal complaint. They determined the light was coming from a flashlight mounted to “an AR platform-style rifle” that Johnson was allegedly aiming at them. Officers recognized Johnson after seeing him earlier in the day and previously in videos he’d posted on social media.

“The officers and TFOs advised they all perceived a threat from Johnson based on him aiming his rifle at them,” the complaint reads. “All officers advised they were concerned Johnson might intentionally, or even accidentally, discharge a round at them.”

Reportedly, after Johnson raised and aimed his rifle, two officers backed away from the roof edge. About “30 seconds after Johnson aimed his rifle at them,” an officer left the building and met with Johnson and another NFAC contact.

Surveillance video shows Johnson at street level “shouldering his rifle and aiming the rifle at the officers on the Jefferson County Grand Jury Building.” Another video shows Johnson’s rail-mounted flashlight.

The case is currently being investigated by the FBI Louisville Division and the LMPD. It falls under the purview of the attorney general’s task force on anti-government extremism.

“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights,” said James Robert Brown Jr., FBI Louisville special agent in charge. “Accordingly, we are committed to investigating violent behavior and those who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law.”

Johnson founded the NFAC in 2017. The militant group has grown in size amid a summer of protests against violence involving Black people, including deaths at the hands of police. They are even more radical than Black Lives Matter.

The group has marched in Stone Mountain, Georgia, calling for the removal of the nation’s largest Confederate monument; in Brunswick, Georgia, for Ahmaud Arbery; in Louisville, demanding more transparency in the Taylor case; and in Lafayette, Louisiana, in the name of Trayford Pellerin.

NFAC states their goal is to protect, self-police, and educate Black communities on firearms and their constitutional rights.

“We are not against anyone,” said Johnson. The group is made up of “US citizens exercising our constitutional rights and the color of our skin shouldn’t make any difference,” he said.

Previous videos show heavily armed NFAC men clad in black being encouraged by their leader to use deadly force against white people if they are confronted.

“I’m gonna say this one time and I mean it,” the leader stated as he addressed the ranks. “F**k Black Lives Matter. We don’t f**k with them. We don’t talk. We don’t sing. We ain’t tryin’ to overcome.”

“We ain’t tryin’ to hold hand with you no more,” he proclaimed. “We don’t give a f**k about your rainbow. This is for black people. We can’t never have nothing to our damned self. So we gonna have this to our damned self.”

Prior to founding and leading the NFAC, Johnson served in the military, and some knew him as a hip-hop DJ and producer.

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