Trial Date Of May 23 Set For Leader Of Largest Black Militia In US, Faces 20 Years In Pen

Trial Date Of May 23 Set For Leader Of Largest Black Militia In US, Faces 20 Years In Pen


Photo: Grandmaster Jay, leader of the NFAC (Source: Probable Cause Affidavit / FBI)

John “Grandmaster Jay” Johnson, founder of Atlanta-based all-Black militia Not F***ing Around Coalition (NFAC), is set to go to trial on May 23.

The leader of what is considered the country’s largest Black militia group, Grandmaster Jay is accused of pointing a gun at police in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sept. 4, 2020, during a protest against police brutality in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. He faces a prison term of 20 years, WCPO reported.

About 200 other members of the NFAC were in Louisville that day.

An Atlanta-based hip-hop artist, Grandmaster Jay launched the NFAC in 2017 in response to white vigilantes who murdered 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, as he jogged in Brunswick, Georgia.

Jay claims that the NFAC first appeared publicly when nine white supremacists descended on Dayton, Ohio, in May 2019, for reasons that were not clear, the New York Times reported. The event unified the community. In 2020, the NFAC showed up in larger numbers at protests over confederate monuments and the killing of Arbery in Georgia, at protests over the police shooting of Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and at protests over the police shooting of Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The men and women of the NFAC are most often seen at protests in body armor carrying weapons. The militia’s membership numbers have never been verified but after interviewing its leader, the nonprofit newsroom The Trace described the NFAC as one of the largest militias in the U.S.

A grand jury in Jefferson County indicted Johnson on state charges in October 2021. Johnson, 58, pleaded not guilty to charges from the Sept. 4 incident in which he allegedly aimed a rifle at an FBI agent, a Secret Service agent and several Louisville Metro Police officers while they were on the roof of a downtown building in Louisville, The Courier-Journal reported.

Johnson and NFAC were in Louisville to protest the police killing of Taylor, a Black woman, medical professional and first responder who was shot and killed on March 13 by Louisville police officers during a botched raid of her apartment.

“Johnson claimed, among other things, he had pointed his rifle with his light because he had heard there were people, possibly kids with paintball guns on the roofs, and they would fire paintball guns at you,” according to an FBI affidavit.

The trial will be held in the U.S. District Court in Louisville. Prosecutors claim Johnson assaulted federal agents by allegedly pointing his rifle at them. Johnson also faces state wanton endangerment charges.

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If convicted of both counts at his federal trial, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison.

Law enforcement was investigating NFAC before the Sept. 4 incident. In fact, according to the FBI affidavit, federal agents began investigating Johnson in May 2020.

The FBI placed a tracking device on a rental vehicle Johnson was scheduled to pick up at CVG Airport prior to the Sept. 4, 2020 protest. But Johnson never picked up the vehicle, WCPO reported.

Photo: Grandmaster Jay, leader of the NFAC (Source: Probable Cause Affidavit / FBI)