The jury has found John Fitzgerald Johnson, otherwise known as “Grandmaster Jay,” guilty of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers and brandishing a firearm in connection with a violent crime. Johnson will remain in custody until Aug. 22, which is also his sentencing date.
Johnson will appeal.
Grandmaster Jay is the leader of the Atlanta-based, “Not F***ing Around Coalition” aka NFAC, an armed black militia group that arrived in Louisville, Kentucky to protest the death of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.
United States Attorney Joseph Ansari showed multiple video angles alleging Johnson, in September 2020, pointed an AR-15 assault rifle in the direction of officers who were staked out on the roof of the grand jury building near Jefferson Square Park in Louisville.
The prosecution played clips of Johnson’s videos on Instagram, recorded prior to the shooting, where he urged his followers to knock police officers unconscious, take their body cameras, flip their police cars, and light them on fire, as well as not allow them to enter their neighborhoods. In another video, he made threatening comments to a person who had called him while he was live on his Instagram account. He told the person they would come after him, his family, his church members or co-workers.
The defense argued that these remarks, although inappropriate, were made out of anger over George Floyd’s death. Johnson’s counsel also told the jury that he was being tried because he was a “Black man with a gun.”
The prosecutor’s response was that there was no connection between the case and Johnson’s race.
Started in 2017, the group has marched in Stone Mountain, Georgia, calling for the removal of the nation’s largest confederate monument; Brunswick, Georgia, for Ahmaud Arbery; Louisville, Kentucky, demanding more transparency in the Breonna Taylor case; and most recently Lafayette, Louisiana, in the name of Trayford Pellerin.
Johnson is facing a maximum sentence of 27 years.