LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Black militia group has announced plans to demonstrate in Louisville this weekend to demand justice in the Breonna Taylor case.
John Fitzgerald Johnson, the leader of the Not F***ing Around Coalition, said in a video that group members will participate in a formation Saturday. Johnson spoke about a specific uniform and types of guns members can carry for safety.
"Understand the seriousness of the situation," Johnson said. "Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home. Conversations are still ongoing...however I've got to move on this one, we've gotta go in on this one."
Johnson, who goes by "The Real Grandmaster Jay," said he spoke with Attorney General Daniel Cameron about his plans and was told the state would respect the group's constitutional right to organize in formation.
"We just need somebody in custody for the murder of Ms. Breonna," Johnson said. "That's all this is really about."
Metro Council President David James said he has been in touch with the NFAC, and said he anticipates the demonstration will be peaceful.
"I had no inkling or feeling that any foolishness would be tolerated within the group and that he was very much in control of that group and that it would be a peaceful march," James said.
James said Johnson had expressed concern and displeasure about how long Attorney General Daniel Cameron has taken with his investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
James said he explained to Johnson that Cameron had only received all the necessary information from LMPD and needed time to thoroughly process the information. Cameron said last Monday he had received everything he needed from the department.
"Poor leadership on our side of the fence, on the city's side of the fence is what took so long, but to put pressure on the attorney general, who only had the case for three weeks, would be very illogical," James said.
James said he also helped facilitate a conference call between Johnson and Cameron on Monday. Cameron's office confirmed the call did take place, with spokesperson Elizabeth Kuhn calling it "productive."
"Attorney General Cameron discussed his continued commitment to moving forward with our office’s independent and thorough investigation into the death of Ms. Taylor," she wrote in an email to WHAS11.
In a video, Johnson said the Attorney General's Office and local and state officials had told him they would not interfere with the NFAC or antagonize any members. James said all three parties left the call with the understanding that they would respect the NFAC's constitutional rights during their event in Louisville.
"Do I want people from out of town to come to town to march with weapons? No, I don't. I just think that the potential for something to go wrong is there. I don't care what group it is," he said. "My issue with that going wrong isn't necessarily with the group that's protesting at the time. It's with the counterprotesters that causes me more concern."
The group previously gathered at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia July 4. In a video shared online, a member of the group spoke about the reason they came to the park, referencing it as "the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan."
Atlanta affiliate WXIA said the group was allowed to enter the park, and exited with a police escort. Police said they had no issues with the group during their time in the park.
"We have these protests on both sides of the issue from time to time. We respect people's first amendment rights to exercise those rights," one park official said. "We understand the sensitivity of the issues here at the park and the dark past, so we respect that and allow them to come in. As long as it's peaceful, which it has been, then that's fine."
James said their past events gives him confidence any appearances in Louisville will also remain peaceful.
"They've got a proven track record of not having non-peaceful marches and so I think this will be like any other march they've ever done," he said.
The Louisville Metro Police Department is aware of the video of the NAFC's plans.
"As with all protests we learn about, we attempt to reach out to organizers to understand what their plans are," LMPD spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said. "We have had several protests posted over the past several weeks, some of which have occurred and some which have not. We will take the appropriate steps to prepare for whatever may occur."
Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday his administration has not received a request for assistance.
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