Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 6, 2013

U.S. Justice Department: no civil rights violation in Johnson death

VALDOSTA — The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to move forward with a civil rights investigation into the death of a Lowndes High student found dead in the school’s old gymnasium earlier this year, according to an agency spokesperson Thursday.

The statement follows the release of an independent autopsy this week into Kendrick “KJ” Johnson’s death; sponsored by the Johnson family and supporters, the second autopsy was conducted by Dr. William R. Anderson, a pathologist with Forensic Dimensions in Heathrow, Fla.

The Criminal Division of the Justice Department acknowledged that the victim’s family and community members have concerns regarding Johnson’s death, but did not find “sufficient indication of a civil rights violation” to initiate a civil rights investigation, according to the agency spokesperson.

“We obtained the state investigative file from United States Attorney Michael Moore, of the Middle District of Georgia, who referred the matter to the Civil Rights Division for review. We reviewed the investigative file and carefully considered whether the allegations involve a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes,” according to a DOJ spokesperson.

The Department of Justice said it will continue to monitor and evaluate the matter, including the second autopsy report, in cooperation with U.S. Attorney Moore, who has said his office is reviewing the case but has initiated no formal investigation into the student’s death.

The second autopsy performed by Anderson directly contradicted the initial autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI concluded that the death was accidental as a result of positional asphyxia after Johnson fell into a rolled wrestling mat head first and became stuck.

Anderson’s findings stated that Johnson’s death was a result of “unexplained, apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma, right neck, involving right mandible, and soft tissues, including the area of the carotid body, consistent with inflicted injury.”

Autopsy results released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on May 2 states “no significant injuries” were shown in an x-ray of Johnson’s head and post-mortem examination.

Anderson has previously contradicted an official finding with a similar conclusion. According to a 2004 Orlando Sentinel

article, Anderson, a former

pathologist with the

Orange-Osceola morgue in Florida, joined two other colleagues questioning the official cause of a 1998 death of a Rollins College student.

The chief medical examiner at the time ruled the death as a result of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Anderson reviewed the records and concluded that the death was due to “blunt-force trauma to the neck,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

At the time of the article, all three pathologists were no longer with the morgue. Anderson resigned his position in a dispute over work related issues, a second pathologist was fired, and the third retired after the State Medical Examiner’s Commission ordered him to stop performing autopsies due to repeated errors, according to the Sentinel.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results