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National Black Militia Leader With Tri-State Ties: 'We Don't Protest, We Respond'

nfac louisville
Timothy D. Easley
Armed members of the NFAC march through downtown Louisville, Ky., toward the Hall of Justice Saturday, July 25, 2020 to demanded justice for Breonna Taylor.

A West Chester man, intent on defending African Americans in the midst of police brutality and racism, has formed a Black militia group that is gaining attention nationwide and around the world.

John "Grandmaster Jay" Johnson is the founder and leader of the "Not F***ing Around Coalition," or NFAC.

You may have seen him and members of his group in cities where African Americans have died at the hands of police and others. They often carry semi-automatic weapons and wear body armor.

Credit Grandmaster Jay's Twitter account
Grandmaster Jay and his members wear body armor and carry assault weapons.

Grandmaster Jay is clear when saying his group doesn't protest. "We respond to situations where there's been a killing within our community, and law enforcement nor the legislature seem reluctant to give us the same level of assistance they give to people of other demographics in a timely fashion."

One of the first places NFAC went was Georgia after Ahmaud Arbery's death. Arbery was pursued by three white men and fatally shot.

Members of the NFAC also stood their ground in Louisville after the death of Breonna Taylor. That's where Grandmaster Jay was indicted on federal charges for brandishing a firearm, assaulting, resisting or impeding officers. State wanton endangerment charges were dropped.

NFAC's Goals

Grandmaster Jay says beyond trying to "police ourselves," he would like to work with local governments and community groups. The NFAC is also interested in forming its own country - a place members can call their own.

More broadly, it would like to:

  • Defend the Black community
  •  Be responsible owners of firearms
  •  Educate and foster unity

The Group's Beginnings

When the KKK decided to come to Dayton in May 2019, Grandmaster Jay said that wasn't right. So he and others showed up to the demonstration. "That was probably one of the first times in recent times that the appearance of African Americans dressed in combat-style gear, carrying semi-automatic weapons in a defensive posture was something that hadn't been seen in recent societies," he says.

Adding to his frustrations was the racism Grandmaster Jay says appeared during the Trump Administration. "At that moment I thought it was time for us to stand up (and) stop talking about it, because apparently there was some other program running in America that we didn't get the memo on. And we appear to be the target of an undeclared domestic war against African Americans."

NFAC says it is the definition of a Black Militia and is the largest one in the U.S., with chapters in almost every city. Grandmaster Jay might have an easier time describing the group by saying what it is not: neither left or right, not anti-semitic, not a gun club and not a social club.

Grandmaster Jay is firm when he says, "If you continue to offend us we will be prepared to defend ourselves."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.