LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WLKY) — The leader of a self-described Black armed militia was arrested on federal charges after law enforcement officers said he aimed a rifle at them during a demonstration in Louisville, Ky. in September.
John Fitzgerald Johnson, commonly known as Grandmaster Jay, on charges related to the incident that occurred with the officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service.
According to court documents, the charges stem from a demonstration that took place the evening of Sept. 4 at Jefferson Square Park. That’s the same day Johnson’s group, the No F***ing Around Coalition,” or NFAC, made their way to Louisville to protest the rescheduled Derby, along with other demonstrations that were planned the same day.
Federal investigators allege that the incident started out when officers were notified of several heavily armed individuals who were parked on Armory Place next to a parking garage. The officers, along with the federal agents, made their way to the roof of the Jefferson County Grand Jury Building, where they watched over Armory Place to monitor the heavily armed individuals, according to the court documents.
When the officers arrived to the rooftop, a short time later a few of them reported they were blinded by a light, which they determined was a “flashlight mounted to the rifle being aimed at them by Johnson.”
Two of the officer said they heard one of them announce that Johnson had aimed his rifle at them as they were on the roof. According to the court documents, two of the officers said they recognized Johnson from their previous encounter with him earlier in the day when the NFAC was at G.G. Moore Park.
“Additionally, all the officers and (federal officers) where familiar with Johnson’s appearance, mannerisms, and tactics due to NFAC’s march in Louisville on July 25,” according to the court document.
Investigators said the officers told them they believed Johnson was threatening them “based on him aiming his rifle at them.”
About a half hour after the incident, the officers said former LMPD special advisor Jessie Halladay made her way out of the Metro Safe building to meet with Johnson and his group.
According to the documents, the FBI reviewed the surveillance video from the incident, which consisted of real-time crime center camera footage. Two photos were included in the court filing that allegedly shows Johnson aiming his firearm at the officers.
Federal investigators also stated this wasn’t the first encounter Johnson had with LMPD officers, whom they said previously advised Johnson against threatening officers.
According to the officers, Johnson was also advised ahead of the Sept. 4 incident that officers would be on rooftops and announcements would be made of their presence.
This is the first time officials have confirmed any sort of investigation involving Johnson and his group’s appearances in Louisville to protest the deadly shooting of Breonna Taylor.