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Grandmaster Jay found guilty of pointing rifle at officers during Louisville protest

Grandmaster Jay found guilty of pointing rifle at officers during Louisville protest

John Johnson, the leader of a militia who goes by the name Grandmaster Jay, was found guilty Friday by a federal grand jury of assaulting and pointing a firearm at law enforcement officials during racial justice protests in downtown Louisville the night before the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Johnson, a 59-year-old man from the Cincinnati area, had been accused of pointing "an AR platform rifle" at an FBI agent, a Secret Service agent and several Louisville Metro Police officers while they were on the roof of a building the night before the Derby, which had been rescheduled to Sept. 5 that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A federal grand jury indicted Johnson in February 2021 on one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and one count of brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Johnson faces a sentence of at least seven years in prison without the option of parole, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice issued Sunday.

The incident occurred amid protests over the Breonna Taylor killing. Johnson was in town with his armed "Not F------ Around Coalition" to participate in demonstrations around the Derby. The group previously came to Louisville that July, and though an opposing armed group was also in attendance, no violence ensued.

In the Sept. 4 incident, the officers on the roof 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 a federal complaint.

Police have said the officers were on the Jefferson County grand jury building, 514 W. Liberty St., which is just south of Jefferson Square Park, to keep an eye on the protest for safety reasons.

An LMPD sergeant said in local court last May that Johnson met with LMPD personnel beforehand and was told only law enforcement would be on the rooftops that weekend.

Johnson and members of his group were also advised not to point weapons at any officers during the protests, LMPD officials said previously.

Johnson's attorney did not respond to an email requesting comment sent Friday evening.

In Sunday's release, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett said Johnson's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 22. A federal district court judge will sentence Johnson after reviewing the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. He will be sentenced at 11 a.m. on Aug. 22.

Lucas Aulbach
Caleb Stultz

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