By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
syoes@afro.com

A little after midnight on March 13, members of the Louisville Police Department arrived at the apartment of Breonna Taylor as she slept allegedly intent on apprehending a man they believed was a drug dealer.

But, they were at the wrong apartment.

Nevertheless, police proceeded to smash down her door and were intercepted by Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who heard the loud banging and fired a warning shot at the plain clothes officers, striking one in the leg. At that point, Taylor had emerged from her bedroom to join her boyfriend in the hallway of her apartment and that’s when police gunned her down. She died minutes later in her hallway. It is unclear whether officers immediately rendered first aid to Taylor as she was dying.

This memorial to Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her apartment by Louisville police in March, was crafted on a basketball court in Annapolis. (Photo: Twitter)

In the aftermath of the murderous mayhem that ensued at Taylor’s home, it was revealed police were seeking her ex-boyfriend, who had already been detained the same night in a home miles away before Taylor was shot eight times. No drugs were found in her apartment. Lawyers for Taylor’s family allege in a court filing that her killing was the result of aggressive policing. Further, her family argues the policy of aggressive policing was wielded in a wider plan to gentrify the majority-Black neighborhood where her ex-boyfriend lived.

Bottom line, Breonna Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse is dead. One of the officers connected to her death has been fired, the rest are on paid leave, but none of them have been charged with a crime. 

In the matter of Breonna Taylor’s death, which has sparked outrage across the nation and the collective plight of Black Americans, the mission of the “Not F—ing Around Coalition” seems apparent in their name.

On July 25, as many as 300 members of the heavily armed, armor clad all Black militia group based in Atlanta known as the NFAC, descended upon Louisville to demand justice and transparency in Taylor’s killing. 

“If you don’t tell us nothing, (we’re) going to think you ain’t doing nothing,” said the group’s apparent leader John Jay Fitzgerald Johnson, known as “Grand Master Jay,” during a fiery speech in Louisville.

“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,” Johnson said recently. The group apparently formed earlier this year in the midst of the protests surrounding the killing of unarmed Black men and women by law enforcement. 

According to reports, the first organized appearance of the NFAC was on May 12, in Brunswick, Georgia during a protest over the execution of Ahmaud Arbery. Local media erroneously identified members of the NFAC as Black Panthers.

According to Johnson, the group provided security for the sister of Rayshard Brooks, the 27-year old Black man who was gunned down by Atlanta police on June 12. The NFAC allegedly provided security for Brooks’ sister at her request at a rally in downtown Atlanta in late June.

On the Fourth of July, as many as 200 heavily armed members of the NFAC marched through Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, demanding the removal of a monument that depicts the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, specifically three Confederate leaders, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. Members of the Ku Klux Klan allegedly helped with the carving.  Stone Mountain Georgia has historically been a rallying point for the White terrorist group.

“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?” said Johnson.

Whether or not you adhere to every developing tenet of this burgeoning Black militia group, what seems apparent for many Black people in America in 2020 is a lot of us are sick and tired of being sick and tired, for real this time.

According to Louisville activist LeBron Seay, who said he fully supports the NFAC, his city is out of time when it comes to making meaningful change for Black people in his city.

Sean Yoes

“This is something that is definitely needed,” he said. “Protesting the same ways is not working; marching is not working; posters is not working; sit-ins is not working, and this is to let the people know we do have a backbone and it’s time for change.”

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor