Last winter, Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes County High School in Valdosta, Georgia. Although it was initially ruled an accident, all available evidence indicates that Kendrick was brutally murdered. Kendrick's family paid for a second autopsy that suggested he'd died from a blow to the neck. Since then, numerous details have surfaced that point to a massive cover-up, and federal prosecutors are now looking into the case. Late Tuesday, Kendrick's parents sued Lowndes County Schools, saying the district failed to protect their son.
The civil lawsuit was filed in Lowndes County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon. It stated school officials turned a blind eye to repeated badgering by a white student who once fought with Johnson and that bullying “at the hands of one or more students” contributed to his death.I haven't been able to find a copy of the complaint anywhere as of yet. However, the allegations that the Johnsons are making are potentially staggering. From the looks of it, Kendrick was the target of long-standing bullying even before his death in the gym.
The suit asserted these specific accusations:
- Negligence by school officials in their supervision of students and in training of faculty and staff to address harassment and bullying at the high school.
- Infliction of emotional distress on their son because of bullying.
- Violation of their son’s civil rights by failure to provide him equal protection as an African-American against personal attacks.
- Responsibility for his death in the high school’s old gymnasium.
Ever since this story first broke, a number of items have trickled out that would shock anyone's conscience. The EMTs on the scene initially found evidence of blunt force trauma to the neck--but that was omitted in the coroner's report. The gym was an absolute bloodbath--so much so, in fact, that when a former FBI agent reviewed crime scene photos, he concluded Kendrick had been murdered. According to a well-respected forensic video analyst, at least an hour of surveillance footage is missing. An open records request by CNN revealed that there were two versions of the coroner's report. The pathologist who conducted the second autopsy found that several of Kendrick's organs had been removed before his burial, prompting Kendrick's parents to sue the funeral home that prepared his body.
One can only hope that this suit leads to more answers about what happened to Kendrick. This family deserves them.