The tragic case of Kendrick Johnson continues to captivate hearts and minds as his family refuses to give up the quest for answers. In a shocking turn of events, the Johnsons have launched a groundbreaking $1 billion lawsuit against the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. The lawsuit alleges that “false information” tainted the investigation into Kendrick’s untimely death.
More than a decade ago, 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead and wrapped up in a gym mat at a high school in Lowndes County, Georgia. Investigators decided no one was responsible.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Chief Medical Examiner decided no one was responsible. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office decided no one was responsible and then, in 2021, decided someone might be responsible and reopened the case, but then they decided no one was responsible, again.
Meanwhile, Kendrick’s family has not forgotten and they’re still fighting for justice.
According to WLAB, the family announced Tuesday that they have filed a $1 billion federal lawsuit against several law enforcement agencies involved in Kendrick’s case, including the Lowndes County Medical Examiner, the sheriff’s office, and the GBI.
Like any of us, they are not willing to accept that a teen who was wrapped up in a mat when his body was discovered died from some freak accident nobody could account for, especially since a second autopsy revealed he suffered a blow to the neck before he died. “It’s painful. It’s hurtful. It’s a shame that we have been having to fight for 10 and a half long years,” Kendrick’s mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, said during the news conference.
She also declared that the family is “going to continue to keep fighting for Kendrick because his life mattered.” Kendrick’s father also has expressed doubt regarding the investigators’ conclusions for several reasons including an allegation that his son might have been tased prior to his death. “Sheriff Ashley Paulk said there was no bruising on Kendrick’s face or his body,” Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father, said reports.
According to the family, photos from the crime scene given to them by investigators show otherwise. “The only thing that can make those marks is a taser or a stun gun,” Mr. Johnson said. “You see he has bruises on his stomach.”
Kendrick Johnson’s family has promised to keep fighting but investigators are doubling down on their original ruling. “The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office conducted a thorough autopsy on this case,” the GBI said in a statement in response to the lawsuit. “The case is closed, and we stand behind our original findings.”
Among the disturbing allegations in the complaint is the denial of the Johnson family’s right to a timely and accurate death certificate for their son. This denial, they argue, is a blatant violation of the Georgia Code. Furthermore, the lawsuit suggests that there may have been collusion between Sheriff Paulk and the GBI, raising unsettling questions about the investigation’s integrity.
“We have not had faith in Lowndes County. We knew what the outcome would be from the very beginning,” Kendrick’s father, Kenneth Johnson, told CNN. “You can’t do an investigation with the same investigators who covered it up. They’re not going to uncover something that they covered up.”
In their relentless pursuit of justice, the Johnsons are demanding a jury trial, underscoring the fact that Kendrick’s case has never been presented in court. Their pursuit of justice is accompanied by a staggering financial claim, seeking $500 million in compensatory damages and an additional $500 million in punitive damages.
As the legal battle unfolds, it will undoubtedly draw the attention of advocates for justice reform and those concerned about the integrity of investigations into tragic incidents like Kendrick’s death. The pursuit of justice can be a long and arduous journey, but the Johnson family’s resilience in the face of adversity is a testament to their unwavering commitment to honoring Kendrick’s memory and securing the truth.
In the end, the outcome of this lawsuit may have far-reaching implications, not only for the Johnson family but for the larger conversation surrounding accountability and transparency in law enforcement. Regardless of the final verdict, it is clear that Kendrick Johnson’s story will endure as a catalyst for change and a rallying cry for those who demand justice in the face of tragedy.