Madison man indicted on federal extortion charges

Devonere Johnson June26 Photo 1280

MADISON, Wis. — A Madison man, accused of making threats against area businesses, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on two counts of extortion.

The indictment alleges Devonere Johnson, 28, attempted to obtain money and property by threatening the use of force, violence and fear, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin.

A federal criminal complaint alleges Johnson threatened to break the windows of a Madison business unless someone associated with the business made a payment to his Venmo account. The second count alleged he threatened to shutdown and destroy a second business if he and his associates were not provided free food and beverages.

The alleged incidents happened on June 22 and 23.

Johnson, who also goes by Yeshua Musa, was arrested outside of Cooper’s Tavern last month.  Police released video showing Johnson talking through a bullhorn and carrying a bat that appears to say “Black lives” inside Cooper’s.

Police also released video showing the confrontation and struggle between officers and Johnson that showed him run from the police squad car and police regaining custody of him in the middle of West Mifflin Street.

The arrest lead to violent demonstrations in Madison that including several reports of injuries and two Capitol statues torn from their pedestals.

If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count, the release said.

 The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey C. Stephan is handling the prosecution, the release said.

Federal law requires that felony offenses charged in a criminal complaint subsequently be charged by an indictment returned by a grand jury