Madison Protester Faces Heavy Charges
Two federal counts of extortion, up to 40 years in prison.
A protester whose arrest sparked protests in Madison Tuesday is facing federal charges of extortion, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin, which announced the charges in a press release Friday.
Devonere Johnson, 28, was arrested Tuesday after walking into a restaurant on the Capitol Square with a megaphone and a baseball bat. Videos, shared on both social media and by the Madison Police Department, show Johnson talking through the megaphone at customers inside the restaurant. After leaving the restaurant, officers arrested him.
The complaint released Friday alleges at some point Monday and Tuesday, Johnson threatened to destroy the windows of a business unless an employee sent money to his personal Venmo account. A second count further alleges Johnson threatened to shut down and “have rioters destroy and burn down” an additional business unless he and his friends were given free food and drinks.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin Scott Blader said, “Those who attempt to take advantage of recent events to extort local businesses under the guise of community activism will be vigorously prosecuted,” Blader said, adding “extortion is not activism, it is a crime and it will not be tolerated.”
Following Johnson’s arrest, protesters gathered at the Capitol Tuesday night. As anger over Johnson’s arrest grew, protesters pulled down two statues. Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter was also attacked after recording a video of the protests on his cellphone.
Johnson faces two counts of federal extortion. If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count, for a total of 40 years in prison.
Madison Protester Charged With 2 Federal Counts Of Extortion was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
- Evers Reflects on Year of Pandemic, Protests - Shawn Johnson - Dec 28th, 2020
- The Year of the National Guard - Jenny Peek - Dec 28th, 2020
- Baldwin Questions U.S. Marshall’s Role in Tosa Protests - Isiah Holmes - Dec 19th, 2020
- Op Ed: Vote No on COPS Grant - Markasa Tucker - Dec 18th, 2020
- People’s Revolution Marks 200 Days of Protest - Graham Kilmer - Dec 15th, 2020
- Supervisor Clancy Applauds Activists on 200th Day of Protests - Sup. Ryan Clancy - Dec 14th, 2020
- The “Molotov Cocktail” That Wasn’t - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 23rd, 2020
- City Hall: Police Chief, Alderman Fight Over Use of Canines - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 23rd, 2020
- Will BLM Movement Sway State Voters? - Bridgit Bowden - Oct 20th, 2020
- City Hall: Community Groups Propose Changes - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 19th, 2020
Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here
- Madison Protester Gets Probation on Extortion Charges - Shamane Mills - Jan 28th, 2021
- Aggressive Police Escalate Violence at Protests? - Clara Neupert - Dec 10th, 2020
- Two Charged with Arson During Civil Unrest in Madison, Wisconsin - U.S. Department of Justice - Sep 23rd, 2020
- Data Wonk: Who Benefits From the Madison Vandalism? - Bruce Thompson - Jul 1st, 2020
- I Sincerely Appreciate Your Kind Words of Support! - State Sen. Tim Carpenter - Jun 30th, 2020
- Op Ed: Madison Protests Targeted ‘Fake Liberalism’ - Ruth Conniff - Jun 29th, 2020
- Everybody Wants Action From Gov. Evers - Melanie Conklin - Jun 29th, 2020
- Madison Protester Faces Heavy Charges - Rachael Vasquez - Jun 29th, 2020
- What Happened at Madison’s Protests - Bruce Murphy - Jun 24th, 2020
Read more about Madison Unrest here