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Complaint: Madison activist charged after threatening people, resisting arrest

A Madison activist has been charged in the Dane County Circuit Court after prosecutors say he threatened restaurant owners and customers and resisted arrest from police officers.
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 5:11 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Madison activist has been charged in the Dane County Circuit Court after prosecutors say he threatened restaurant owners and customers and resisted arrest from police officers.

Devonere Johnson, 28, has already been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with extortion. The DOJ said in a previous criminal complaint that Johnson threatened two Madison businesses unless they sent him money and his associates were provided with free food and beverages.

In a criminal complaint with the Dane County District Court on Friday, prosecutors charged Johnson with threats to injure or accuse of a crime, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and escape. Bond was set for Johnson at $1,500, according to online court documents.

The complaint states that Madison police officers were called to State Street on June 23, where Johnson allegedly held a bullhorn in one hand and a baseball bat in the other.

Dispatchers told the responding officers that Johnson had threatened owners of a business and then threatened customers at the same restaurant, according to the complaint.

Johnson approached the officers while yelling through the bullhorn. He also refused to drop the bat, the complaint states.

That's when Madison police officers attempted to place Johnson in handcuffs, who resisted arrest, the complaint states. Officers eventually lifted Johnson into the air, with his head facing the ground, and carried him to an MPD squad car. The complaint states Johnson was kicking and actively resisting the way there.

Johnson was then placed in the back seat. But officers soon realized that Johnson had escaped from the squad car, as one of the doors had been left unlocked. One of the officers managed to grab Johnson about 10 feet from the squad car. Other officers arrived and brought Johnson back to the squad car and brought him to Dane County Jail.

In a separate criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court Friday, prosecutors also charged two other man, Gregg A. James and William T. Shanley. Both were charged with threats to injure or accuse of a crime, and James was further charged with disorderly conduct.

Local and federal prosecutors allege that James and Shanley accompanied Johnson in extorting and threatening two businesses along State Street.

Johnson will be in Dane County Court for his preliminary hearing on July 9. He made his first federal court appearance last Wednesday.

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