Copyright 2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
They had plenty of company Saturday, as about 100 supporters gathered in the rain at a Valdosta park to demand a probe of the investigation into Kendrick Johnson's death, ruled an accident by Lowndes County sheriff's deputies. Kendrick's parents believe his body was stashed inside his school's old gymnasium by whoever killed him.
The office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia opened its own investigation in October, but the family and their attorneys made it clear Saturday that's not enough.
"The Justice Department's investigation could take forever," said Benjamin Crump, one of the lawyers representing the Johnsons. "We want the governor to grant the coroner's inquest this case demands."
An autopsy supervised by state Chief Medical Examiner Kris Sperry concluded Johnson suffocated after getting stuck reaching into the upright mat for a shoe.
The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus plans to meet with Gov. Nathan Deal Monday to push for an inquest. A spokesman for the governor said last month that Deal plans no action until federal authorities conclude their investigation.
"Certainly, if another investigation is called for, the governor would be open to that," spokesman Brian Robinson said.
Supporters of the Johnsons said Saturday they'll continue to apply pressure until they get answers.
"It just doesn't make sense what happened," said Emmorith King Sr., who came from Albany to attend the rally. "And the truth always makes sense."
Sabrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer, encouraged the Johnsons to stand firm.
"There are people who don't want you to get answers," Fulton said, reminding the Johnsons that "all you need is God."
Kenneth Johnson made it clear he was not going to back down.
"I will fight like hell," he told the crowd. "It's lie after lie after lie that we've been told, and we won't stand for it."