The Coopers Tavern responds to arrest, protests


MADISON, Wis. – We’re hearing for the first time from one of the restaurants that claim they were threatened by activists last week.

The Coopers Tavern posted on their Facebook page that they know marginalized voices need to be heard, and they support people’s right to protest.

They added they try to handle situations on their own instead of calling police, but they felt the safety of staff and customers was at risk when they called the police on Devonere Johnson last week.

In their statement, Coopers says they understand protests can be disruptive and cause a disturbance, but they felt the incident went beyond that and crossed over into threats of physical violence.

They say they called the police when they felt Johnson threatened to use a baseball bat he was carrying. Activists say Johnson didn’t threaten anyone with the bat and was remaining peaceful, even if he was disruptive.

Devonere Johnson is now facing federal extortion charges after prosecutors say he and two other men threatened violence at another business if they didn’t donate money for their cause.