The family of slain Georgia teen Kendrick Johnson has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
It’s been ten years since the 17-year-old was found brutally beaten and rolled up in a gym mat at Lowndes County High School in Valdosta, Georgia. Despite severe facial injuries, his death was initially ruled a suffocation accident. However, two subsequent autopsies confirmed the teen died due to blunt force trauma. The Johnson family has cited numerous inconsistencies between the first autopsy and the following ones.
His family has continued to fight for justice since his passing in January 2013 and are now looking to hold the investigators accountable. Johnson’s parents say the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office worked hard to cover up a fellow student murdering their son. The agency also concluded in March 2021 that a recording of a boy confessing to the killing was a hoax, though Johnson’s parents are not sold on this finding.
“It’s a shame that we have been having to fight for ten long years, and nobody seems to care about Kendrick. He’s just another child that they want to sweep under the rug,” said Kendrick’s mother, Jackie, during a press conference Tuesday, 11 Alive reports.
In addition to the GBI, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and Lowndes County Medical Examiner are also being targeted in the lawsuit. The sheriff’s office reopened the case in 2021 but once again concluded that Johnson died in a freak accident while trying to retrieve his sneakers from the gym mat. Following the lawsuit’s filing, the GBI very bluntly responded, stating that the case was closed.
“We stand behind our original findings,” they wrote.
Currently, there are no plans to reopen the investigation.