Ariel Zilber, Daily Mail, October 3, 2020
Some 400 members of an armed black militia brandished semi-automatic weapons in a show of force in Louisiana on Saturday as they protested a recent fatal shooting of a black man by local police.
The NFAC, or ‘Not F****** Around Coalition,’ is an Atlanta-based militia made up primarily of former military veterans.
The organization has frequently staged processions and marches in several cities that have been flashpoints of racial tension these past few months.
The militia members were marching to protest the August 21 shooting death of Trayford Pellerin.
Police claimed officers shot Pellerin after he was seen walking into a convenience store with a knife.
It was particularly active this past summer in Louisville, where protests were frequently staged in the wake of the March 12 shooting by police of Breonna Taylor.
Last month, a Louisville grand jury declined to pursue criminal charges against any of the officers for fatally shooting Taylor, a 26-year-old black EMT who was killed in her bed as cops executed a no-knock search warrant.
Police, who believed Taylor’s home was used to facilitate the sale of drugs, did not find any narcotics during the raid.
According to its leader, John ‘Grandmaster Jay’ Johnson, the NFAC’s three main missions is to protect the black community; self-police the black community; and educate the community about their rights as gun owners.
The group marched through downtown Lafayette, Louisiana, on Saturday after obtaining a permit to do so, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported.
It should also be noted that Louisiana is an open carry state, meaning that NFAC was not breaking any laws by brandishing their weapons.
The group gathered at Parc Sans Souci for a march that went along the same route as the Mardi Gras parade.
When the march began just after 4pm near the Lafayette Public Library, several people started running after a gunshot was heard.
Authorities later said that one person in attendance who is not a militia member accidentally discharged his weapon.
Police arrested 26-year-old Terrance Jones of Lafayette. He was charged with one count of reckless discharge of a firearm at a parade or a demonstration.
He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to KATC-TV.
There were no injuries.
The shooting on the night of August 21 was captured on video, and the state ACLU condemned what it described as a ‘horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a black person.’
Both the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center quickly called for an investigation.
Lafayette officers followed Pellerin, 31, on foot as he left a convenience store where he had created a disturbance with a knife, Louisiana State Police said.
Stun guns failed to stop him, and the officers shot Pellerin as he tried to enter another convenience store, still with the knife, according to a news release.
Pellerin became anxious in groups and may have been frightened by the officers, Michelle Pellerin, Trayford’s mother, told The Advocate.
He had sought professional help earlier this year, she said.
‘Instead of giving him a helping hand they gave him bullets,’ national civil rights attorney Ben Crump told the newspaper.
He and Baton Rouge attorney Ronald Haley said they have begun their own investigation by interviewing witnesses.
Some said Pellerin was not armed, Haley said.
NFAC staged the march in Lafayette after House Rep. Clay Higgins threatened the group on Facebook.
Higgins, a former sheriff’s deputy in St. Landy Parish, posted a photo of NFAC that included a caption which read: ‘Me? I wouldn’t even spill my beer. I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand.
‘We don’t care what color you are. We don’t care if you’re left or right.
‘If you show up like this, if we recognize threat…you won’t walk away.’
Facebook took down the post.
Johnson said he felt blindsided by Higgins’ threat.
‘When (Higgins) decided to issue this threat, it blindsided us,’ Johnson told a radio interview.
‘When I read those words, I read them four times.’
‘You’re going to apologize to me and you’re going to apologize to my organization,’ Johnson said.
‘If you choose not to do it, then we’re going to come to your town and make it so uncomfortable for your constituents, they’re gonna beg you to apologize to me.’
Higgins has so far refused to apologize.