A protest was held Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky over the death of Breonna Taylor. No arrests have been made of the police officers involved in her death during a drug bust gone wrong using a no-knock warrant. Joining in the protest, organized by Black Lives Matter, was an armed militia group.
The militia is comprised of “100% black” members. They were not invited by the Louisville chapter of BLM, who have distanced themselves from the group. The group calls itself “Not F—ing Around Coalition” (NFAC) and the leader calls himself Grand Master Jay. Most recently, the militia was in the news for protesting at Stone Mountain, Georgia on July 4th. If you have never seen the nation’s biggest Confederate monument, a sculpture of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Southern generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, it is quite impressive.
“We are a Black militia. We aren’t protesters, we aren’t demonstrators. We don’t come to sing, we don’t come to chant. That’s not what we do.”
What do they do then? Well, on Independence Day, Jay said:
“Our initial goal was to have a formation of our militia in Stone Mountain to send a message that as long as you’re abolishing all these statues across the country, what about this one?”
In Stone Mountain, Georgia earlier today pic.twitter.com/F2Autd4YtI
— Naomi (@naomiruta) July 4, 2020
The militia announced its intention to march in Louisville Saturday and the Louisville Metro Police Department were on high alert for what could devolve into a dangerous situation. Little did they know at the time that three militia members would be taken to the hospital due to injuries from another member’s gun. Apparently, NFAC weren’t the only ones there who were armed. There were also armed white men there, too.
Downtown Louisville today. A lot of people who aren’t police or military with assault rifles, handguns, multiple ammo clips and knives as two opposing militias come to town pic.twitter.com/eRrari54gu
— Chris Kenning (@chris_kenning) July 25, 2020
The shooting took place near Baxter Square Park around 1 p.m. and all of the victims were transported to the University of Louisville Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) told Fox News.
Protesters ducked behind cars and scattered to flee the area, a reporter from WHAS11 wrote on Twitter.
One of the members of the NFAC spoke to throngs of protesters and said “we had a little accident, it happens,” the reporter said.
BREAKING: We just watched two people be taken onto stretchers at Baxter square on 12th and Jefferson. Metro safe has confirmed reports of shootings & that there are multiple victims. We heard the noises when people scattered to get behind cars, & to take a knee @WHAS11 #nightteam pic.twitter.com/h5AsPWlLbi
— Jessie Cohen (@jessiecohennews) July 25, 2020
Other protesters who have been regularly protesting the death of Breonna Taylor and calling for arrests of the police officers denounce NFAC as “outside agitators”, including the Louisville chapter of BLM. They don’t agree with NFAC’s tactics. There haven’t been any arrests but one of the three officers involved in the deadly instance was fired from the department last month. Two other officers have been placed on administrative leave.
In an interview before Saturday’s protest, Grand Master Jay described the militia’s clothing and firearms so that they would be recognized. The Louisville Metro Police Department responded that they would be prepared.
“Black boots, black button down shirts, black mask, shot gun, semi-automatic or rifle, pistol or thigh holsters under your arm,” he said. “If you are not in that uniform, you won’t be in the formation.”
“As with all protests we learn about, we attempt to reach out to organizers to understand what their plans are,” the department said in a statement. “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.”
The mayor of Louisville and other elected officials knew about the protest in advance, too.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron was made aware of the possible march and said he and Louisville Metro Council President David James had a “productive” discussion over the phone with Grand Master Jay on Monday.
“Attorney General Cameron discussed his continued commitment to moving forward with our office’s independent and thorough investigation into the death of Ms. Taylor,” Elizabeth Goss Kuhn, spokesperson for the attorney general, said in a statement to WDRB News.
Grand Master Jay justifies the militia’s involvement in protests by saying the Constitution calls for militias to be formed if the government isn’t listening to its people, or something.
“Once it gets to that point where it looks like the government is non-responsive to the will of the people, the Constitution says to [form a] militia to address the grievances of the people,” he told Louisville FOX affiliate WDRB-TV.
“I didn’t write it,” he says about one of America’s founding documents. “They wrote it. We just abide by it. So that’s our destination, because when it looks like the government is being indifferent to the people, the people have the right to form themselves – and arm themselves — to ask those questions.”
So, there you go. Jay says he and his militia members are just following the Constitution. It sounds like, though, that perhaps a little more gun safety training should be on Jay’s agenda. That way another embarrassing “accident” won’t capture the headlines instead of just the story of his militia’s involvement in a protest honoring Breonna Taylor. If the intention is intimidation with all-black clothing (like Antifa) and displaying firearms, shooting each other doesn’t scream “badass”, does it?