Kendrick-Johnson crop

Kendrick Johnson- (Photo Credit: Justice for KJ)

The tragic death of Valdosta High School student Kendrick Johnson made national news over in 2013. The Black teen was found dead in a rolled up gym mat at Lowndes High School where he attended. The circumstances surrounding his death and pictures of his body post-mortem caused outrage and allegations of a cover-up that included an FBI agent and his sons and local law enforcement. The family eventually filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $100 million in damages and named GBI, county and school officials as well as Rick Bell and his sons Brian and Braden.

The Bell brothers were accused of having some type of involvement in the death of Johnson and have been under investigation by federal and state of Georgia officials. Search warrants and publicity over the case have caused a disruption in the lives of the Bell family and last month their lawyers took action. They argued that there has been no credible evidence that links the Bell brothers to the death of Johnson or a conspiracy. As such, they asked the judge in the case to issue a summary judgment.
The court has not made a decision on that motion, but Kendrick Johnson’s parents, Kenneth Johnson and Jacquelyn Johnson, have now withdrawn their wrongful death lawsuit. Their family spokesperson Marcus Coleman has been quoted in local media as stating, “I do believe the Johnsons will revisit the matter. We did not want the civil matter to be the primary focus.”

There is an open and ongoing federal investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson that has had serious bumps along the way. This includes judges recusing themselves from the case and the eventual transfer and resignation of former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore. It was Moore who opened a federal probe into the death of Kendrick Johnson but so far no significant evidence or charges have been publicly filed. Moore has held several closed hearings that have seen many Valdosta officials and families giving testimony in the case.

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.

  • Likewaterforchoc

    I don’t understand what is so difficult about this case. We all know this kid did not roll himself up in a damn gym mat and we also know that the Bell brothers lied about being “friends” with him. They may as well bring back the noose if they are letting these white boys get away with this.

    • Shawn

      And it’s also been proven by fact thy later one Bell brother was present in his class and the other was 40 miles away on a bus when Kendrick Johnson died. Did you see the picture of those mats? They’re all the same diameter, meaning someone either rolled him up and rolled all the other mats up to look the same, or he just got stuck trying to retrieve his shoes.

  • faketony

    The young man reached too far down into the 6′ rolled mat to grab his shoe for his next weightlifting class and couldn’t extricate himself.

    Did not help KJ he wore his gym clothes under his school clothes; the extra layers complicated his movement.

    One brother was tens of miles away on a bus to Macon for a wrestling tournament, the other seen on school video reviewed by the FBI on the other side of the school campus same time KJ was last seen entering the old gym.

    The Johnson family has admitted in deposition they have no evidence KJ was murdered.

    • Jason

      faketony? yep that sums it up

      • faketony

        The real Tony Cheek died in a car accident about 5 years ago.

        Because I was always ‘fighting’ with him about the scour of –>illegal<–immigration his open border friends called me faketony.

        So tell me your theory… how and why KJ died?

    • witness2what

      How did his shoes end up by his feet if he was reaching for them. Wouldn’t they have been found near his head.

      • faketony

        KJ went missing on the first day back from Christmas vacation. Normally he and a fellow student shared a pair of black Adidas sneakers they would hide in the mats to avoid a locker fee.

        On this day he was last seen on his way to weight lifting class. He was wearing his nice white Nike school shoes, Those are the shoes you see by his feet in the mat.

        If you look at enough photos you will realize one of the black Adida he shares is under his head in the mat, the other black Adidas was nearby

        on the gym floor.

        Depending on your point of view; if you believe murder, he was rolled in a mat which was then set on end and his white Nike were thrown into the mat hole to hide them.

        I believe he recovered his first black Adida and threw it out on the gym floor.

        To recover his second black Adidas he held on to the top of the mat with his left hand and reached into the mat hole with his right hand.

        Mats were ~6 feet tall, KJ was 5’10″… a person finger tip to finger tip is generally equal to their height. He would have only had to go in to his knees to reach his black Adida.

        Four things made it difficult to extricate himself: He was wear gym clothes under his school clothes, he had recently eaten lunch, he was upside down and stuck and he was wearing his white Nikes.

        I believe he kicked off his white Nikes to try to get some foot hold in the mat.

  • Riena

    The Johnson family told lies to the public of how their son was “murdered” hiring a race hustling attorney to sell their story in hopes of suing 39 innocent people of a “murder/conspiracy coverup”. The problem with their story is that it lacks FACTS. This is another Duke Lacrosse case where a black person is blaming a white person for a crime that didn’t exist. Chrystal Mangum is the Johnson family. Yes, their son died at school by accident….accidents happen. That never gives anyone the right to falsely accuse other children of a crime that didn’t exist all in the name of a 100 million dollar lawsuit. Al Sharpton left this case after he learned the parents lied. Rev. Floyd Rose left this case after he learned the parents lied. CNN Victor Blackwell left this case after he learned the parents lied. Too bad RollingOut is still running the “narrative” of a murder/conspiracy coverup that didn’t exist. There are so many other cases out there that we could focus on ….this one isn’t it. The parents are being sued and they should be sued for all that they have done in this case to prove that a crime was committed.

    • witness2what

      How did his shoes end up by his feet…? Shouldn’t they be by his head if he was reaching for them…

  • faketony

    Fast forward June 2016, the DOJ found no evidence of a prosecutable crime and closed the case.

    • Willie Bottoms

      faketony, let’s be realistic for a moment, okay. First of all listen to what you are saying. The attorney general resigned and the judges excused themselves from the case. Wake Up, Wake Up because the judges and attorney general knows that this is a big mess and they are trying to make sure that they save their careers. Too many lies with the biggest cover up in school history. Stop lying and it is time for somebody to go to jail. You can only hide for a period of time before it is reality and the punishment comes your way. Stop the lies and misinformation.

      • faketony

        I like being realistic.

        Did it ever occur to you the judges excused themselves from the case because the Johnson family has had many brushes with the law over the years and the judges too many legal interactions with them to be considered fair in rendering a decision?

        Robbery, home invasion, drugs, shootings, shootings, shootings, illegal civil disobedience, beatings