A self-described Black militia is planning to demonstrate in Lafayette on Oct. 3, in response to U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins’ recent threats to personally shoot and kill them.
The Not F---ing Around Coalition, which sprang up within the last year, is planning to meet downtown at 4 p.m. at Parc Sans Souci. The group is coordinating with local law enforcement authorities, but the specifics of their plans are not clear.
The NFAC founder and leader, John Jay Fitzgerald Johnson, said on a Facebook live forum Monday night that members will not initiate violence or break laws. Johnson said he had met with Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, as well Sheriff Mark Garber and city police officials.
Garber’s spokesman confirmed the Sheriff’s Office and Lafayette Police would provide security. He declined to provide further details. Guillory’s spokesman did not respond to a query.
Johnson, speaking with Kenneth Boudreaux on Facebook live, demanded that Higgins publicly apologize for posting a picture of Johnson and NFAC members along with threats to their lives. The picture Higgins posted was from news coverage showing Johnson and others demonstrating in Louisville in response to the police killing of Breonna Taylor. They were heavily armed.
Higgins did not identify any particular individuals or groups when making the threats. Referring to the picture, Higgins warned that “if this shows up” in Louisiana, he would “drop any 10 of you where you stand.” He added that he and other Louisiana residents would “eliminate the threat,” and that NFAC members “won’t walk away.”
“That’s not a challenge, fellas. It’s a promise. We don’t want to see your worthless ass nor do we want to make your Mothers cry,” Higgins said.
Facebook removed the post for violating its terms on inciting violence.
Johnson, also known as Grand Master Jay, told Boudreaux the congressman’s threats “blindsided” him, since NFAC had not previously focused on Lafayette. In fact, Higgins appeared to be responding to a video made by a Houston activist who is not part of the NFAC.
The activist, Gerry Monroe, warned Lafayette officials in an Aug. 30 video that the NFAC was on its way to Lafayette, in response to the Aug. 21 police killing of Trayford Pellerin. Monroe has joined and helped lead protests following Pellerin’s death.
“You have a storm coming. Grand Master Jay and the NFAC are coming to Lafayette, Louisiana,” Monroe said.
Higgins’ post followed two days later, and Johnson said he soon started receiving confusing calls.
“People said, why is this congressman threatening you? I said no congressman is threatening me, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Johnson told Boudreaux. “Then I found out he was actually threatening me because he thought I was somebody else. He thought I was a gentleman out of Houston who had no affiliation with us.”
Monroe said in another video Monday night that he had miscommunicated, and he expressed support for Johnson and NFAC. Yet he also said he found Johnson's comments to Boudreaux disrespectful, and did not aspire to be part of the group.
Monroe did not respond to a Facebook message on Tuesday, and attempts to call him were unsuccessful.
Whatever the mix-ups that led to Lafayette getting on NFAC’s radar, Johnson said Higgins needs to apologize in public.
“I will make you the center of nightly news for the next six months. I got nothing better else to focus on. You are going to apologize to me, and you are going to apologize to my organization. If you choose not to do it, we are going to come to your town and make it so uncomfortable for your constituents they are going to beg you to apologize,” Johnson told Boudreaux.
Higgins’ spokesman did not respond to a query Tuesday.
Not much is known about the NFAC beyond what Johnson has said about it. He told Boudreaux the group is a “structured, organized militia,” composed mostly of U.S. military veterans who are legally allowed to own and carry their firearms. He did not say how many members it has, nor how many he expects to be in Lafayette.
He said the group has a threefold mission focused on supporting Black people: protection, self-policing and education.
As he has before, Johnson said the militia is not part of any protest or demonstration group. The NFAC welcomes such groups at its events, so long as they stay apart from armed militia members, Johnson said.
Johnson also claimed the Southern Poverty Law Center had determined the NFAC is fourth-largest militia in the United States, but it is not clear what he was referring to. A spokesman said the SPLC had become aware of Johnson’s group this year, but it had not designated NFAC as a militia.