Feds Bust Black Lives Matter Organizer for Blackmailing Local Businesses
"You don't want 600 people to come here and destroy your business and burn it down"
The riot in Madison was inspired by the arrest of organizer Devonere Johnson for 'organizing' in a restaurant. The resulting violence saw statues toppled and a Democrat state senator beaten.
Now the Feds have busted Johnson for blackmailing businesses.
Federal prosecutors brought extortion charges Friday against the man whose arrest this week sparked violence and destruction in the capital city.
U.S. Attorney Scott Blader filed the charges against Devonere Johnson, alleging he threatened to bash windows of downtown businesses unless employees gave him money.
Blader also alleges Johnson, 28, threatened to "shut down and destroy" another business unless Johnson and his friends were provided free food and drinks.
In one restaurant, Johnson allegedly brought a boombox indoors and refused to turn it down. When the owner told Johnson he donated money to a group supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign, Johnson asked what he had done "locally."
Ultimately, Johnson allegedly told the owner "give me money or we'll break windows," according to the criminal complaint.
Johnson entered another bar and allegedly asked for free food and drinks or else the bar would be "marked," according to the complaint.
"You don't want 600 people to come here and destroy your business and burn it down. The cops are on our side," according to the complaint, which included interviews with the bar owner about what Johnson allegedly said. "You notice that when you call them, nothing happens to us."
Even Sharpton was slicker than that. But in the BLM kneeling age, Johnson thought he could get away with it.
Johnson, also known as Yeshua Musa, is a Madison activist who has been present at every protest following Floyd's death. He was arrested outside a Capitol square restaurant on Tuesday after he brought a baseball bat and a bullhorn into the tavern and shouted at customers.
The arrest sparked hundreds to march in Madison's downtown streets seeking Johnson's release from jail. The demonstrations turned violent and threatening as protesters entered a private condo building and forced a driver from a car, and assaulted at least two people — including a state senator.
Johnson appears to have been BLM identified.
Johnson has attended several of Madison’s Black Lives Matter protests and has spoken with New 3 Now in the past about wanting to arrange a meeting to speak with Interim Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl.
And yes, they all pull the "I can't breathe" routine.
In a video posted to social media of his arrest, Johnson can be heard saying he “can’t breathe” and asking why he’s being arrested.
While Johnson has no open cases against him, he has been convicted or pleaded guilty at least three times, including for felony theft, according to the court records and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Johnson's felony theft charge from 2016 involved him and three others holding two men they had planned to buy cellphones from at gunpoint, stealing their phones and shooting at them, according to the Journal Sentinel. A judge dismissed the armed robbery charge and he was sentenced to five years of probation.
Johnson was also acquitted of felony first-degree assault charges in 2015 in a shooting that allegedly left a Minnesota bus passenger paralyzed, according to the Star Tribune.
The violence was sparked by a run-in between Johnson and a man identified only as “L.G.,” who had a previous relationship with Johnson’s girlfriend, the Tribune reported in 2015.
The pair began to fight and a witness told police L.G. at one point placed Johnson in a headlock, the report states. Johnson allegedly told L.G. to stop, and said, “Let me go or I'm going to shoot you,” according to a witness cited by the Tribune. The dispute, and Johnson’s alleged threats, were caught on video.
L.G. was reportedly shot in the neck and was paralyzed from his neck down. A jury later acquitted Johnson.
I'm guessing the man he shot has some trouble breathing. Local courts absolutely failed to hold him accountable. Let's see if the feds can bring some law and order into his life.