Black militia leader John Fitzgerald Johnson, also known as Grandmaster Jay, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assaulting law enforcement officers for pointing a gun at police in Kentucky earlier this year.
Johnson, the 57-year-old leader of the armed Black group the Not F-cking Around Coalition, was arrested at his Ohio home on Dec. 3 on charges stemming from a Sept. 4 incident in which authorities say he interfered with federally deputized task force officers one day before planned protests near the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky.
John Johnson/Grandmaster Jay. (Photo: Oldham County Detention Center)
According to the criminal complaint, Johnson pointed an AR platform rifle at an FBI agent, a Secret Service agent, and three Louisville Metro officers while they were surveilling an area from the roof of a building as demonstrators gathered to protest the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police in March. The protests were planned to coincide with the running of the storied Kentucky Derby horse race on Sept. 5.
The officers said they were suddenly blinded by a light which tuned out to be from a flashlight mounted on Johnson’s rifle, which was pointed at them. None of the officers had drawn their guns, and only one had his rifle with him, according to the Western District of Kentucky United States Attorney’s Office.
Surveillance images that authorities say show John Johnson pointing a rifle at officers. (Photo: Probable Cause Affidavit / FBI)
“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights,” said United States Attorney Russell Coleman in a statement. “Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory. Accordingly, we are committed to investigating violent behavior and those who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law.”
Johnson was booked at Oldham County Detention Center in La Grange, Kentucky, on Thursday afternoon, and appeared before a judge on the same day. If he is convicted, Johnson could serve a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.
The case falls under the Attorney General’s Task Force to Combat Violent Anti-Government Extremism, dedicated to prosecuting those who commit violence in the name of anti-government ideology.