Madison man in federal court, accused of making threats against business owners

Devonere Johnson June26 Photo 1280

MADISON, Wis. —  A Madison man facing extortion-related charges appeared in federal court on Wednesday.

A grand jury will meet next week and decide whether or not to indict Deveonere Johnson. If indicted, Johnson will have an arraignment in federal court sometime in the next few weeks.

The federal criminal complaint charges Johnson with attempting to obtain money and property through the use of force, violence and fear.

It alleges Johnson threatened to shatter the windows of a Madison business unless someone associated with the business transferred money to his Venmo account. The second count of the complaint alleged that on the same day, Johnson threatened to shut down and destroy a second business.

Madison police said Johnson was one of several men who demanded free food and drinks in return for not having a business destroyed by protesters. Victims told police that during the commission of the alleged crimes, one of the suspects was in possession of a baseball bat.

Johnson, who also goes by Yeshua Musa, was arrested outside Cooper’s Tavern last week. 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.

According to the federal complaint, one of the restaurants involved obtained products from outside of Wisconsin. Interstate commerce is regulated by the federal government.

New charges were filed against Johnson this week. The State Capitol Police Department arrested him for criminal damage to property.

Johnson remains in the Dane County Jail as of July 1.

Gregg A James. Jr. and William T. Shanley, two other men charged with similar crimes, made initial appearances in Dane County Circuit Court this week.