Louisville man sentenced for attempting to incite riot

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – A Louisville man was sentenced for violating the federal Riot Act by trying to incite riots in Louisville on the same day they were taking place in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky announced on Tuesday.


John Subleski, 33, was arrested by the FBI on February 11, 2021, and has been in federal custody since that date. The U.S. attorney‘s office says Subleski posted multiple statements on social media to incite riots and violence and later committed an act of violence by firing his weapon at a motorist around the 2nd Street bridge during a riot in downtown Louisville on January 6, 2021. At the time, protesters were stopping and threatening drivers with firearms.  


According to court documents, including the indictment and criminal complaint, Subleski used a facility of interstate commerce, namely, the internet, Signal and Facebook, with intent to incite, organize, promote and carry on a riot and to commit an act of violence in furtherance of a riot on or about December 29, 2020, to January 7, 2021. The indictment describes Subleski as a member and leader of the United Pharaoh Guard, or “UPG”, also known as “Loujahadeen,” a Boogaloo Bois based anti-government anti-police ideology group in Louisville, Kentucky. 


He posted a series of statements on Facebook, many of them profanity-laced, including one on Jan. 5 that said, “The only thing that has ever beaten tyranny was a sword or a rifles….DASSSSS IT.  NOTHING ELSE!  GETCHO RIFLE AND LET IT BANG AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.” 


On Jan. 6 he posted statements like, “They storming the capital in DC and ya’ll can’t unit enough to storm the gov buildings here….smh I HATE IT,” as well as, “Time to Storm LMPD.” 


Prosecutors say that evening, more than 20 persons, including Subleski, assembled at 2nd and Main Street, closing traffic on Main Street and to and from Indiana on the 2nd Street bridge and began rioting by engaging in acts of violence that constituted a clear and present danger and resulted in damage to the property. They pointed weapons, threatened drivers and damaged vehicles.


Subleski was sentenced to the time he served in jail, which was five months, and a three-year term of supervised release.


Acting U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennet said, “I commend the FBI agents who investigated this matter and the prosecutors who worked alongside them to successfully prosecute the case. Individuals who incite riots and commit violent acts in violation of federal law, subjecting citizens to violence and fear, should know they will face swift investigation and prosecution in the Western District of Kentucky.”    


Edward J. Gray, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Louisville Field Office, added, “Mr. Subleski is now a felon and will not be permitted to possess firearms. As a result, our community is safer.”

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