BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama comedian who spoke at a rally following the police killing of George Floyd was arrested on a charge of inciting a riot by police who contend he helped spark a night of violent unrest in Birmingham.
Jermaine Johnson surrendered to police on the misdemeanor charge on Tuesday and paid a $500 bond before being released, his lawyer, Emory Anthony, told al.com.
Anthony said he was surprised that police decided to charge Johnson, who goes by the moniker “FunnyMaine” and is known for his videos about the University of Alabama football team.
“He’s not guilty,” Anthony said.
Johnson spoke at a peaceful rally in a downtown park on May 31 before a crowd went a few blocks away to Linn Park, where a Confederate monument was badly damaged. People later spread out through the area, smashing windows, setting fires and looting.
In his speech, Johnson ticked off a list of sites he said demonstrators could not tear down. He continued: “But what I’m not telling you to do is walk to Linn Park. I’m not telling you to walk to Linn Park after this rally. I’m not telling you to tear something down in Linn Park. I’m not telling you that I’m going to be over there after this rally.”
The city later removed the Confederate monument, a stone obelisk.