Family Of Teen Found Dead In Gym Mat Files $1B Federal Lawsuit Against Investigators 10 Years After His Death
The family of Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead in a gym mat at Lowndes County High School in Georgia, has filed a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office for “false information” related to the young man’s 2013 death.
Jackie Johnson, has alleged the county and the school district, engaged in a “cover up” of her son’s demise since initially ruling it a freak accident. “It’s a shame that we have been having to fight for 10 long years and nobody seems to care about Kendrick,” she said. “He’s just another child that they want to sweep under the rug.”
“We live there,” said Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father. “We know how this town is. We know how they will lie. We know how they will cover up for one another.”
With their new lawsuit, the Johnsons intend to uncover the truth of what happened to their son the day his body was found by classmates.
“We’ll go through every bit of it. If we found a contradiction, we’re going to resolve any contradiction,” Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said when the case was reopened in 2021. “I want to start fresh with it and look at all the way through. I think the community deserves it.”
However, after a year of investigation, the sheriff’s office once again ruled Johnson’s death an accident.
In 2013, investigators concluded that Johnson died while trying to recover a shoe that fell inside a rolled-up wrestling mat and got stuck upside down. They ruled asphyxiation as his cause of death, not foul play.
The Johnsons have refuted these claims from the start and believe their son was murdered by someone on the school grounds. They’ve had two additional autopsies done on Kendrick’s body which concluded his death was the cause of blunt force trauma. Medical examiners also found that several of Johnson’s organs had been removed.
“They killed the wrong child, but they got the right parents because we are going to continue to fight for Kendrick,” Jackie Johnson said. “Nobody really cares. Nobody wants Kendrick to get justice. It’s just like shut this family up, sending them on their way, but what they didn’t realize is the Johnson family is not going anywhere.”
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