Johnnie Bryon Devault Bio – Wiki
Johnnie Bryon Devault has been identified as the man who was recorded punching Black Lives Matter protester Nicholas Reardon in the back of the head during a rally in southwestern Ohio on June 14. Video of the incident was posted on social media and quickly went viral.
According to Bethel police, Devault was initially identified only by a biker nickname. But after videos of the incident spread online and more witnesses came forward, police were able to make a positive identification. Police issued a warrant for Devault’s arrest and charged him with assault. But as of this writing, Devault had not yet been apprehended.
He is 64 years old.
Attack on Ohio Black Lives Matter Protester
The recorded assault happened during a day of chaos in Bethel that made headlines nationwide, during which hundreds of counterprotesters overran a small Black Lives Matter event in a village of fewer than 3,000 people. Bethel is located about 30 miles southeast of Cincinnati in Clermont County and the village has only six police officers.
Village Administrator Travis Dotson told the Washington Post no arrests were made that day because the few officers were “overwhelmed” by the size of the crowd. He added that the marchers were local residents while many of the counterprotesters were from out of town.
Johnnie Bryon Devault Wanted
Bethel Police issued a warrant for Devault’s arrest on June 17. But investigators have not been able to find Devault or get in touch with him, according to a news release. His birthday was listed as August 28, 1955, putting Devault’s age at 64. It was not immediately clear whether Devault is employed or retired.
The warrant, which was filed in Clermont County Municipal Court, states that Devault faces a first-degree misdemeanor assault charge. The officer wrote that during a Black Lives Matter protest, Devault punched a protester in the back of the head “in an attempt to cause physical harm. This incident was recorded on several recording devices and surrendered to police as evidence of a crime.” The warrant also noted that “several crime tips from the public” helped the department identify Devault as the man in the video.
According to Clermont County court records, Devault can expect a potential $2,000 bond once he is arrested. The record shows the judge granted a Temporary Protection Order on behalf of the victim. A motion for a “Criminal Stalking Protection Order” was also filed.
In the video that documented the leadup to the punch, Black Lives Matter demonstrator Nicholas Reardon appeared to be alone amid a crowd of counterprotesters. People in the crowd can be heard shouting at Reardon to go home as at least three officers urged everyone to get out of the street.
Devault was recorded standing beside Reardon at the 3:40 mark, in the video embedded above. He was wearing a bandana that was described as being decorated with a Confederate flag. Devault briefly moved out of the frame as Reardon walked onto the sidewalk. Chants of “USA” were heard and one person was heard telling Reardon to “Get the f*ck out of here, boy.”
By the 4:02 mark, Devault was seen standing behind Reardon before punching him a few seconds later. Devault calmly walked away after the hit. Reardon flinched and looked behind him to see who had punched him. He then turned to a nearby officer and said, “Sir, I just got punched in the back of the head.”
The back of the police officer’s hat was in the frame of the video as Reardon was hit. But Bethel Police say the officer didn’t witness the punch because he was looking elsewhere at that moment.
It’s unclear what all was said after that as multiple people shouted over each other. Reardon then asked where he was allowed to demonstrate, which triggered an animated response from several people in the crowd who all shouted at once. At least one person yelled “Cincinnati” as others screamed at Reardon to “get out of our town” and called him a “mama’s boy.”
Devault’s record includes several prior arrests in Ohio and Florida. He was arrested and charged with domestic battery in November 2010 in Duval County, Florida. The charge was a first-degree misdemeanor and Devault entered a “not guilty” plea. Court records show Devault was released without needing to post cash bail and he was ordered to stay away from the victim. The record suggests the prosecutor dropped the case in January 2011.
In Bay County, Florida, Devault was cited for driving without a valid license in 2007. The record shows he failed to appear in court at least once before entering a no-contest plea. An “order of insolvency” was also filed. Devault signed paperwork in 2010 stating that he was unemployed, had no financial assets and his debt totaled $500.
In 2002, Devault was arrested in Hamilton County, Ohio, for two traffic violations. In March of that year, he was charged for driving with counterfeit plates. He was “convicted by plea” in that case and paid a fine. In December 2002, Devault was arrested again, this time for driving without a valid license. He was again ordered to pay a fine.
According to The Smoking Gun, Devault’s record also includes arrests for grand theft and receiving stolen property. The website reported that prosecutors did not pursue criminal charges in either of those instances.