The parents of Kendrick Johnson, the Georgia high school student who was found dead rolled up in a gym mat at his school, are facing jail time for pursuing justice for their son.
Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson have been speaking up for their son every since his voice was forever silenced in Jan. 2013. The parents are furious because authorities in Lowndes County seem to be doing very little to uncover the facts surrounding the death of their son.
In April, Kendrick’s grieving parents and five other family members, all of whom have dubbed themselves the “KJ7,” gathered in the front of the Lowndes County courthouse in Valdosta, GA. The KJ7 then locked arms in front of the doorway of the building, yelling “No justice… No peace!”
According to WCTV, the members of the KJ7 were charged with interference of government property, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. But Kendrick’s mother wasn’t deterred by the charges. In an interview with the news station after being arrested, she said, “I’m going to be right back out at the courthouse in the morning, ready to do it all over again, until we get justice.”
Yesterday, the Johnson’s jury selection began for their upcoming trial. The family’s attorney,Chevene King, said that all seven protesters have pled not guilty to the misdemeanor charge. King also said that the Johnsons have no intentions of accepting a plea deal from the prosecution.
Earlier this month, Kenneth and Jacquelyn went to the civil court to pursue justice for their son since it seems that the criminal justice system dropped the ball. The parents filed a $100 million lawsuit against their son’s Valdosta high school, members of the police force, and the city itself. The parents believe that their law suit will apply pressure on the police force and associated entities to uncover the truth about who killed their son.
The parents persist in their belief that their son was murdered by other high school students. Ms. Johnson told CNN, “We know who killed him. We just have to prove it.”
In May 2013, the Lowndes County Sherriff’s Office closed the investigation, stating that Johnson slipped into the mat while reaching for a shoe, got stuck, and died. This claim was based on the autopsy results, which stated that the 17-year-old died of “accidental positional asphyxia.”
Later that year, an independent pathologist, hired by the Johnsons, concluded that the boy died from blunt force trauma to his neck. His death was deemed a homicide by the pathologist.
In October 2013, Michael Moore, the attorney for the middle district court in Georgia, launched an investigation on the teen’s death. The investigation has yet to be concluded.