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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 3, 2020

NFAC Leader “Grandmaster Jay” Charged With Assaulting Law Enforcement Officers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – John F. Johnson, aka, “Grandmaster Jay” has been charged via criminal complaint with assaulting federal task force officers, announced United States Attorney Russell Coleman.

“Here in Kentucky we revere our First and Second Amendment freedoms, not foolishness which puts police and protesters at grave risk,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman.

“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights," said FBI Louisville Division SAC Robert Brown. "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, 57, of West Chester, Ohio, was arrested at his home on December 3, 2020. He appeared before a federal judge in Louisville this afternoon.  

According to the criminal complaint, Johnson forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, and interfered with federally deputized task force officers while they were engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties, when Johnson aimed a rifle at them on September 4, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Johnson brandished an AR platform rifle at federally deputized Task Force Officers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the U.S. Secret Service, and Louisville Metro Police Department officers. The task force officers were on the roof of the Jefferson County Grand Jury Building keeping watch on Jefferson Square Park where there was armed protestors gathering.  

Upon arriving at the eastern edge of the roof, the officers and task force officers began their surveillance.  A short time after initiating surveillance, some of the officers were blinded by a light which they shortly thereafter determined was a flashlight mounted to the rifle being aimed at them by Johnson. 

According to the complaint, the officers and task force officers advised they all perceived a threat from Johnson based on him aiming his rifle at them.  All officers advised they were concerned Johnson might intentionally, or even accidentally, discharge a round at them.  All officers recognized that the distance between themselves and Johnson was well within the effective range of an AR platform style rifle.  Two of the officers advised that they were wearing their LMPD soft body armor, with “Police” semi-reflective placard identifying them, the night of September 4, 2020.  None of the officers had drawn their handguns and only one of the officers had a rifle with him, which he did not point at Johnson or the NFAC members on Armory Place. All Officers advised that neither Johnson nor the other NFAC members perceived a threat from the officers on the roof, because neither Johnson or the other NFAC members moved to cover when they saw the officers on the roof of the Jefferson County Grand Jury Building.

If convicted at trial, the statutory maximum sentence is 20 years in federal prison.

A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged and must be made under oath before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.  The charge set forth in a complaint is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a Court of law.

The FBI Louisville Division and Louisville Metro Police Department are investigating this case.

This case falls with the purview of the Attorney General’s Task Force to Combat Violent Anti-Government Extremism. Launched in June 2020, the Task Force is dedicated to supporting the investigation and prosecution of any person or group who commits violence in the name of an anti-government ideology.

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Updated December 3, 2020