Parents of deceased17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, found rolled up in a gym mat at his school gym, filed a lawsuit July 28 against school officials. In the lawsuit, the family claims the school’s lack of action led to the wrongful death of the South Georgia teenager.
Johnson’s body was found by classmates in the middle of a mat propped upright against the wall of Lowndes High School gym on Jan. 11, 2013. Investigators with the Sheriff’s office concluded the teenager died in a “freak accident,” when he climbed into the center of the gym mat to retrieve his shoe and got stuck. However, a pathologist hired by Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, the teenager’s parents, refuted the official conclusion. According to the pathologist, Johnson’s death was the result of blunt trauma to his neck, leading him to deem the death a homicide.
The lawsuit against the county school board, school superintendent, and the principal claimed they knew about the attack on Johnson and seeks to holds them responsible. According to the lawsuit, Johnson was “violently assaulted, severely injured, suffered great physical pain, and mental anguish,” in addition to being subjected to insult and loss of life.
The complaint states that school officials were aware of an attack on Johnson by a White student, during a bus trip in 2012. It is unclear whether the same student who fought with Johnson had a role in his death.
This lawsuit comes after Johnson’s parents filed a negligence lawsuit against the school district. The first lawsuit filed by his parents claimed Johnson’s constitutional right to equal protection based on race was violated. This lawsuit is ongoing. According to CBSNews, Johnson’s parents are seeking unspecified monetary damages from the school system in both lawsuits.