The Valdosta Daily Times
Two of the founding members of the ICU organization, which stands for Issues Concerning Us, object to the comments made by the Rev. Floyd Rose and Leigh Touchton from the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) concerning the issues surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson.
Johnson’s body was found in January in the Lowndes High School gymnasium in a rolled up wrestling mat. His death has sparked months of speculation and rumors following two conflicting autopsy reports, leading U.S. Attorney Michael Moore to state Thursday that his office will conduct a review of the investigation.
ICU members Tony Daniels and Freddie Richardson, Sr. came forward Friday to speak about the U.S. Attorney’s decision, saying they applaud Moore for reviewing the case in the hopes of bringing closure on both sides of the issue.
“All we are seeking is the truth,” said Daniels. “There’s been a lot of issues from the beginning with the investigation and questions that need to be answered.”
Daniels and Richardson say they objected to the portrayal of the Johnson family and their attorneys as not being truthful, and they also object to the way that the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations conducted the investigation into KJ’s death.
“In my opinion, something sinister happened to KJ while he was at Lowndes High School,” said Daniels. “There are incongruencies between the two autopsies and I think Dr. William Anderson did a superb autopsy examination to find the real cause of Kendrick
Anderson was hired by the family to conduct a second, private autopsy following the release of the GBI’s report, which states that Johnson died due to positional asphyxiation and ruled his death accidental. Anderson states that he found evidence of blunt force trauma to Johnson’s jaw area.
Daniels said there were vague, cloudy and hazy issues in the investigation, with unanswered questions about KJ’s clothing, fingernails, blood stains and more.
Richardson said the organization also questions why the family had to file a lawsuit to try and force the coroner to order an inquest.
“With all the questions about this, why didn’t he order one? Why did the family have to file something in the court to get him to do what he should have already done,” said Richardson.
The men said that not only does the family need closure, but also that officials with Lowndes High School should take note and improve security to ensure the safety of the children on campus.
“A school should know where every student is all the time they’re in school,” said Daniels. “They should be all about protecting those kids.”