Black militia members and far-right group brandish guns in Louisville

Shots fired as heavily-armed black militia members demanding the arrest of cops in Breonna Taylor’s death face off with Three Percenters paramilitary group in Louisville

  • At least three people were wounded when gun ‘accidentally fired’ by black militia members in Louisville 
  • Louisville police formed a barricade separating ‘Not F*****g Around Coalition’ and the Three Percenters 
  • NFAC is a group of highly armed black militia members based in Atlanta, Georgia 
  • They’re taking part in Black Lives Matter protests demanding arrest of cops linked to Breonna Taylor’s death 
  • Taylor was a 26-year-old black EMT who was fatally shot in her home during botched drug raid by police
  • Three Percenters is a far-right militia group that claims to be providing ‘security’ during Saturday’s rally 
  • As of early Saturday afternoon, at least two people were arrested by Louisville police officers 

Three people were injured when gunshots rang out in Louisville as a black militia group carrying semiautomatic weapons and a far-right organization carrying heavy firearms came face-to-face during demonstrations on Saturday. 

According to local reports, an argument erupted between Black Lives Matter supporters and members of the far-right Three Percenters militia on the corner of Fifth and Jefferson Streets in Louisville on Saturday shortly after 1pm local time.

But the shooting took place a few blocks away in Baxter Park, where an estimated 200 armed members of the Atlanta-based ‘Not F*****g Around Coaltion’ had gathered before marching toward the main protest site in downtown. 

Paramedics push a stretcher as police officers investigate a shooting that happened during an armed rally held by an all-black militia group called NFAC in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

A piece of medical equipment lies on the ground as police officers investigate a shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Police ring the area with yellow tape as they investigate the shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

A supporter of an all-black militia group called NFAC stands near the police officers who investigate a shooting on Saturday

Baxter Park is a staging area for NFAC members before they are expected to march toward Jefferson Square Park near City Hall, where approximately 50 members of the Three Percenters militia have gathered.

Louisville police have formed a barricade to separate the two opposing camps. 

According to the Louisville Courier Journal, a firearm appeared to have accidentally been discharged in the NFAC section in Baxter Park, resulting in two people being injured. 

WDRB-TV is reporting that three people, including a minor, were wounded. 

The Louisville Metro Police Department later confirmed that the shooting was a result of a firearm that accidentally discharged. The three wounded victims were rushed to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  

Members and supporters of an all-black militia group called NFAC hold an armed rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Members of the Kentucky Three Percenters Militia line up as members and supporters of an all-black militia group called NFAC hold an armed rally in Louisville

Members of the Atlanta-based NFAC were seen outside Central High School in Louisville on Saturday

The show of force was meant as a protest of the authorities’ decision to so far decline to bring criminal charges against the police officers involved in the fatal March shooting of a 26-year-old black EMT

NFAC members are seen above during a rally outside Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

NFAC members prepare to set out on a march from their staging area in Louisville’s Baxter Park on Saturday

NFAC militia members aim their weapons skyward as they prepare to march toward Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

NFAC militia members prepare to set out on a march toward Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Despite the shooting, NFAC members marched five blocks toward City Hall, where they stood several hundred feet from the Three Percenters militia. 

The simultaneous demonstrations in Louisville by the NFAC and the right-wing Three Percenters organization are taking place a day after some 76 protesters were arrested on Friday.

Police on Saturday police sealed off several roads in the downtown area where the demonstrations were taking place. 

As of early Saturday afternoon, at least two people were arrested by Louisville police officers. One of them, a Black Lives Matter supporter, allegedly tried to burst through a police barricade that was set up to divide the two opposite camps. 

Members of an armed, all-black militia known as NFAC approach City Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Members of NFAC make their way ahead of the group to secure locations as they march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

A protester displays their pistol in a holster calling for a response to the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Grandmaster Jay (right), the leader of NFAC, speaks during a rally on in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Members of NFAC make their way ahead of the group to secure locations in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Two members of the armed militia are seen above in Louisville, Kentucky, during a demonstration on Saturday

The militia leader, Grandmaster Jay, is seen in the center as he leads NFAC members toward City Hall

Members of NFAC rest after a march toward City Hall in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Grandmaster Jay (left), the leader of NFAC, speaks with police before a march of his group and supporters in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Grandmaster Jay is seen second from right leading militia members on a march toward City Hall in Louisville on Saturday

An armed NFAC member is seen above marching alongside his fellow militia members in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

A member of the NFAC militia looks on as fellow members take a rest during a march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Grandmaster Jay (right) begins to lead the NFAC militia during a march toward City Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

In recent weeks, scores of Black Lives Matter demonstrators have been demanding the arrest of the Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor.

‘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,’ NFAC head John Fitzgerald ‘Jay’ Johnson, also known as Grand Master Jay, told WDRB-TV. 

‘I didn’t write it,’ Johnson said of the Constitution.

‘They (the founding fathers) 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.’ 

Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. 

The warrant to search her home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found. 

The shooting set off weeks of protests, policy changes and a call for the officers who shot Taylor to be criminally charged. 

Armed members of the black militia NFAC are seen above just before a march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

NFAC members are seen above lining up in formation during a march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Armed members of the NFAC are seen above during a march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

The NFAC, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, is in Louisville, Kentucky, to back protests demanding the arrest of three police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black EMT, in her home in March

NFAC members are seen above carrying firearms during a march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

NFAC members are seen lining up in formation just before setting off on a protest march in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

One officer has been fired, but no charges have been filed. Investigations into the shooting are continuing. 

Johnson said earlier this week that up to 5,000 members of the NFAC could take part in the demonstration in Louisville.

‘We’re there to get an answer, not to fight a war,’ he said. ‘This is for Bre.’ 

During a speech to a crowd of supporters on Friday night, Johnson said he had been in dialogue with several senior Kentucky officials, including representatives from Mayor Greg Fischer’s office, Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Cameron, a Republican and Kentucky’s first African American state attorney general, said that he still has no timeline for when his office will conclude its investigation of the Taylor case.

In recent weeks, protesters have been staging demonstrations outside Cameron’s home demanding felony charges be brought against the three police officers. 

‘We’ve chanted, we’ve sung, nothing has changed,’ Johnson said when asked about his organization’s presence at the rally on Saturday. 

Members of the Kentucky Three Percenters militia are seen above lining up outside city hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

The Three Percenters militia is considered an extremist group by the hate-monitoring organization Southern Poverty Law Center

The Three Percenters derive their name from the false claim that 3 per cent of colonists fought in the American Revolutionary War against the British

Louisville police officers are seen forming a barricade to separate the Three Percenters militia members from Black Lives Matter sympathizers on Saturday

A Three Percenters militia member holds a cigar and an M-16 semiautomatic rifle in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

Two members of the Three Percenters militia are seen above in tactical gear near city hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday

As of early Saturday afternoon, two people were arrested by Louisville police. Three Percenters militia members are seen above

‘What’s the definition of insanity? Doing something over and over again and expecting different results.’ 

As of early Saturday afternoon, at least one person was arrested by Louisville police. Officers were reportedly standing in between the two groups who were standing opposite of one another in front of city hall.

On one side were Black Lives Matter protesters and NFAC members while on the other side were Three Percenters.

A woman said to be a supporter of BLM who allegedly tried to walk through the police barricade was taken into custody, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.   

At least 40 police officers were seen forming a human barricade between the two groups of demonstrators. 

Tara Brandau, a member of the Three Percenters, told the Courier Journal that she heard several members of a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan planned to come to the protest.

Brandau said that the Three Percenters did not support the KKK group’s plan.

‘We don’t want no KKK,’ Brandau said.

If the KKK does show up, Louisville police plan to deploy more officers to set up another barricade to keep the peace, according to the Courier Journal. 

At least 100 members of NFAC were seen gathering at Baxter Park. From there, they began marching to Jefferson Square Park. 

Local black residents interviewed by the Courier Journal said they support the NFAC’s presence at the demonstrations. 

Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed at her home in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13. A coroner says she died from gunshot wounds almost instantly, but her boyfriend says she was coughing and gasping for air for five minutes 

The state of Kentucky has some of the nation’s most liberal gun laws in the country. Residents are permitted to openly carry their firearms in public if they are licensed to do so. 

The presence of highly armed factions is prompting public officials to warn residents to stay away for fear of possible violence.

‘The potential for violence will be heightened as we will more than likely have a number of highly armed groups representing very different viewpoints as well as other groups all situated within a block of each other,’ Louisville city council member Kevin Kramer, a Republican, said.

‘While efforts are being made to ensure a safe environment to all persons present, I would caution you that the potential for violence will exist.’

Kramer said he was worried that law enforcement agencies did not have all of the necessary tools to ensure that the situation did not spin out of control.

‘As an elected official I would like to stand up and say our city is safe and we’re going to protect you, but I’ve watched the way that the police department has been instructed to respond in the past, and I don’t have a lot of confidence that the police department is going to have the resources that they need should something go wrong,’ he said. 

On its website, the right-wing Three Percenters group says it isn’t an anti-government militia but ‘we will defend ourselves when necessary.’ The group takes its name from the false claim that three percent of American Colonists fought in the Revolutionary war.

The group was founded in 2008 in response to Barack Obama’s election as president, which sparked some allegations of racism against the Three Percenters. 

Those accusations intensified after the group provided security in 2017 for the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which neo-Nazis protested alongside other far-right organizations. 

Demonstrators at the event chanted ‘Jews will not replace us,’ waved ‘White Lives Matter’ flags, and one neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields, drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protestors, killing a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer.

Although the Three Percenters have since distanced themselves from the Unite the Right rally, the Southern Poverty Law Center still considers them an anti-government group. The group has also grown in Canada, where it has been described as an anti-Muslim militia.

Protests against racism and police brutality were expected to continue in cities like Louisville and other parts of the country this weekend even as President Trump has pledged to expand a federal crackdown by sending in armed Homeland Security officers to help keep the peace. 



Louisville officers Jonathan Mattingly (left), Brett Hankison (center), and Myles Cosgrove (right) are accused of killing Breonna Taylor inside her apartment, but haven’t been arrested 

Trump announced on Wednesday he will send federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to help combat rising crime, expanding the administration’s intervention into local enforcement as he runs for reelection under a ‘law and order’ mantle.

Using the same alarmist language he has employed to describe illegal immigration, Trump painted Democrat-led cities as out of control and lashed out at the ‘radical left,’ which he blamed for rising violence in some cities, even though criminal justice experts say it defies easy explanation. 

‘In recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police department,’ Trump said Wednesday at a White House event, blaming the movement for ‘a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.’

‘This bloodshed must end,’ he said. ‘This bloodshed will end.’

The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyperpoliticized moment when Trump is grasping for a new reelection strategy after the coronavirus upended the economy, dismantling what his campaign had seen as his ticket to a second term. 

With less than four months until Election Day, Trump has been warning that violence will worsen if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November and Democrats have a chance to make the police reforms they have endorsed after the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests demanding racial justice. 

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