Photo courtesy of the Johnson family

The death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson has been the source of grief for the family and confusion for others involved in the tragedy. Kendrick was found dead, upside down, inside a rolled up gym mat on Jan. 11, 2013. Much has been written about the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the young man’s body, but there is an underlying current of distrust for Lowndes County, Georgia, officials that have led many to believe that a conspiracy is afoot to protect certain individuals with powerful law enforcement connections from possible prosecution for what many believe is murder and not an accident. His parents, Kenneth and Jackie Johnson, have been fighting a battle to determine those responsible for their son’s death despite a recent legal setback.

Rolling out spoke with Kendrick’s father, Kenneth Johnson, regarding his pain and struggle:.

Kendrick was not just another tragic tale, he was your son. How do you cope with his death?  

You can’t cope with his death. I have not been able to. All we can do is push forward and keep his name alive. It is something I know that I will never get over.

What were the last words you spoke with your son?

I was in the process of buying a big truck, I spoke with him a few days before his death and he was asking had I chosen the truck yet.

What did he dream of doing upon graduation from high school?

His dream was to play professional football. That was his biggest dream, to make it in the NFL and become somebody. He wanted to go to Florida State University.

How are you protecting your son’s image?

Keeping his name alive, and pushing for the truth to come out about his death. People have tried to say negative things about him, but he was a good child. We will not rest until the truth comes out.

What has been your greatest frustration in seeking justice for your son?

Going up against a crooked system. This is an evil system that is in place. With our child’s death, we should not have to go through what I and his mom are going through. This was a child. For anyone to cover up the death of a child they have no heart and are a cold-blooded person.

What do you want to say to critics of your civil lawsuit?

I don’t have too much to say to them. All I will say is that we will continue to push forward no matter what. It doesn’t matter what people are saying. No matter how hard they try to make us back off, we will not be intimidated by no one or any circumstances. We will push forward.

What has been the impact of the recent $300K order to pay legal fees to those you named in your lawsuit?

It has not really impacted us at all. We knew this was coming. We had a judge in place and no matter what motion we put forward he kept saying take it up with the court of appeals. He did not look at our evidence and take it into consideration. We believe we will prevail in the court of appeals. All of this is part of the legal system and an attempt at intimidation. But we will not be intimidated by no one.

How can the public help?

We ask the public to help in any way possible, we ask that people donate to the Kendrick Johnson Memorial Fund that is on GoFundMe.

What would you like to say in closing to our readers?

Spread the word about the Kendrick Johnson story. There is more to come. Keep us in your prayers because we are up against a crooked system.

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.