One can’t think of a harder blow to a parent than them sending their child to school with a book bag and then seeing that child returned in a body bag. But this is exactly what the parents of Kendrick Johnson had to cope with in 2013. Their son was a healthy high school student who played multiple sports and his body was discovered in a rolled up gym mat. To make the matter even more heart-wrenching, their son’s body was swollen, bloody and beaten beyond recognition. When they turned to law enforcement for an explanation, they were told it was an accident.
Rolling out was at a press conference held at the Georgia State Capitol to hear family spokesman, Marcus Coleman, and Kendrick’s parents give all of Georgia and the media an update on this case. As the evidence was revealed, the narrative given was similar to what a person might have heard during the turmoil of the civil rights movement of the deep south during the 50s and 60s. Johnson’s death has all the indications of a murder.
Coleman gave a timeline of events stretching from the morning of the body’s discovery to when officials arrived on the scene. Students started tweeting at 7:15 a.m. that a body was in the gym, yet officials were not called until 10 a.m., according to multiple sources. In addition, the crime scene was compromised and there was blood on the walls that was never tested, neither was there an explanation given of how a person with a shoulder width of 19 inches could fit into a hole with a diameter of 14 inches.
The official story is Johnson was reaching for his sneaker when he got stuck in the mat. If that was the case, why was the injury to his hands noted that it was similar to him being in a fist fight? Perhaps the most troubling question is why local law enforcement stated that Johnson’s death was accidental before an autopsy was performed? It was after the sheriff said that the death was accidental that an autopsy was performed supposedly supporting this statement. When the family paid for a second autopsy, it was discovered the body had blunt force trauma that contributed to death.
Plain and simple: this case has all the marks of a cover-up, so much so, that the Justice Department took over the investigation and has turned the city of Valdosta, Ga., upside down in search of the truth. Recently U.S. Attorney for the Middle Georgia District Michael Moore issued over 100 subpoenas for Kendrick’s former classmates and their parents to answer some tough questions in front of a federal grand jury. The family will meet with Moore on April 4, 2014, followed by a press conference and rally for justice in Macon, Ga., outside the federal courthouse. The family hopes, by then, charges will be forthcoming on those who have been implicated in Kendrick’s death.