Archives

Family Of Kendrick Johnson Honor Son One Year After Curious Death | News One

Kendrick Johnson Case

The curious death of Georgia teen Kendrick Johnson (pictured below) remains one of the most-baffling cases to date. On January 11, 2013, the 17-year-old Lowndes High School student’s body was found rolled in to a wrestling mat inside the school’s gymnasium. Despite a shoddy investigation by local authorities and growing evidence that surveillance video may have been altered, justice has been elusive for the Johnson family.

SEE ALSO: Expert Calls Tape Of Kendrick Johnson ‘Highly Suspicious’ 

Along the way, Florida attorney Benjamin Crump has aligned himself with the Johnson family in hopes to explore other legal means to expedite the federal investigation in to the case that was launched late last year. In an interview with NewsOne, Mr. Crump spoke on behalf of Johnson’s parents by highlighting their frustrations around the case and also announcing a rally in the small town of Valdosta, where the incident took place:

In the year that Kendrick Johnson first went missing in 2013 until this morning in 2014, they [the Johnson family] still have no answers as to who killed their son. Since last month’s rally in Georgia, the family learned that several FBI agents came to Valdosta to interview several students and the school’s faculty as well.

The agents seized the hard drive, by way of a grand jury subpoena, that contained the school’s surveillance video. Now the family has been pushing for this hard drive to be given to our side, but it was given to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We were a little disappointed because we wanted to evaluate the video ourselves because we have learned from past dealings that the federal investigation can take up to two or three years, and then they come back and say there’s no probable cause and Kendrick’s death is swept under the rug.

Crump added that the family had always believed the video was altered as previously reported and that they should have rights to have access to the files on the hard drive just as much as anyone else. Crump feels that the hard drive’s raw data would contain the footage that will directly show who entered the gymnasium where Kendrick was found.

Kendrick Johnson Case

Crump and the family is also fighting for an independent coroner to examine the findings, thus allowing for a transparency that has yet to occur in the case. Crump believes that using the independent coroner’s investigation will allow the family to highlight the various inconsistencies they claim plague the case. There is also hope that with the independent survey of the case that the public will demand a full and impartial investigation in to the happenings without any political barriers.

The Johnson family has been blocked by the judge in the case regarding the coroner’s requests since the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation began late last year. Crump, speaking on behalf of the family, said that the family just wants to see some manner of traction in the case and feels as if all parties on the other side have little cause to rush.

When asked if race is a possible component that is holding up the case, Crump wasn’t shy in stating that could be a possibility.

“This is small town Georgia, and that if this had happened in the reverse that justice would have moved a lot more efficiently,” explained Crump. “With that being said, at best it was an incompetent investigation, and at worst, it was a conspiracy.”

Over the weekend, the family and supporters gathered in Valdosta for a memorial event for Kendrick Johnson. The “K.J. Memorial Rally” was attended by Sybrina Fulton, the Mother of Trayvon Martin, in a show of support of the Johnson family.

SEE ALSO: Read NewsOne’s Trayvon Martin Coverage

On the Kendrick Johnson Memorial Facebook page, several posts on January 11 were focused on key points of the case along with various photos of the teen coupled with statements. There was little media coverage of the actual weekend rally itself although some news outlets announced it.

Crump says the Johnson family may file civil lawsuits against the city of Valdosta, but have tried to remain patient and trust the government to do its job before taking other measures.

Family Of Kendrick Johnson Honor Son One Year After Curious Death | News One.

Views – 148

Latasha Harlins, Renisha McBride, Social Media and Slain Black Girls – The Root

Latasha Harlins Shooting at Empire Liquors

The Empire Liquors grocery store where Latasha Harlins was killed in 1991

Latasha Harlins would not live long enough to witness the birth of Twitter or the era of the hashtag. Yet it’s difficult not to summon her name—or her story—amid hashtag memorials for another dead black girl, 19-year-old Renisha McBride, who was shot in the face earlier this month after knocking on a door in suburban Detroit.

Latasha, age 15, was shot in the back of her head by grocery-store owner Soon Ja Du two weeks after the infamous Rodney King beating in 1991. It happened during a dispute at Du’s South-Central Los Angeles store and ended with Latasha lying dead on the ground with a $1.79 bottle of orange juice sitting on the counter and two crumpled dollar bills in her hand. The memory of Latasha’s shooting eerily haunts the present as we confront the recent death of McBride, whose shooter claims self-defense.

As UCLA historian Brenda Stevenson observes in her new book, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins : Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots, much about Latasha’s life and death is all too familiar. As Du testified during her murder trial, in Latasha she didn’t see a black girl who loved BBD —the around-the-way girl with the “New Edition Bobby Brown button” on her sleeve that LL Cool J once lovingly observed. Rather, per Du’s teenage son, what she saw instead was a “gang member.”

Latasha’s sartorial choices—described by a friend in Stevenson’s book as “blue dickies, a white T-shirt, and a black hoodie, always the black hoodie”—reflected her desire, no doubt, to simply fit in. As another friend of hers recalled, “Tasha was just very quiet and shy … And she was hard, you could tell. You didn’t mess with her. She was like in her own world.” None of which suggests that she deserved to die on a Saturday morning in a grocery store doubling as a liquor store, in her own neighborhood.

It is conventional wisdom that the dramatic deaths of black women and girls simply don’t inspire the spirit of agitation that many might recall in the invocation of the names “Emmett Till” or “Trayvon Martin.” And to be sure, we’d be hard-pressed to think of a black woman or girl who resonates in our collective psyche the way Emmett and Trayvon do.

Emmett and Trayvon were middle-class boys who we believed would become solid citizens, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Latasha might be forgotten in the shadow of the case in which four L.A. police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King. Yet Latasha became the catalyst for the most sustained example of black rage since the Watts insurrections of 1965.

Stevenson reminds us that when the phrase “No justice, no peace!” became the anthem of the insurrections that set Los Angeles afire in April of 1992, “Rodney King was not the symbol of injustice that catalyzed the protest: Latasha Harlins was. Indeed the uprising’s slogan … was chanted by protesters at the Empire Liquor Market immediately after Latasha was killed, a full year before … ”

How, then, was it that the death of this 15-year-old black girl was able to inspire the level of collective response that she did? The answer perhaps lies in the fact that Latasha’s murder, despite our collective memories about anti-black violence, was a rarity.

Given that the vast majority of homicides occur within a single racial group, and the majority of females are killed by males, Stevenson notes, “Harlins’ death at the hands of Du was quite unusual. Harlins’ shooting challenged the Black-White divide that often accompanies narratives of anti-Black violence. Du was not only Korean born, but also a woman, as was Judge [Joyce] Karlin, who presided over Du’s trial, and eventually sentenced her to ‘no further jail time.’ ”

Equally rare, according to Stevenson, was that at the time, homicides of black girls in Latasha’s age group (14 to 17) represented less than .01 percent of the murder rate in 1991. That we know so well, today, the examples of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Hadiya Pendleton and Renisha McBride—during an era when, overall, black-youth homicides have declined  since the late 1980s—speaks volumes about the surreal nature of their deaths as well as our ability to access and share information about such violence.

The 1991 grocery-store shooting of the 15-year-old, which Brenda Stevenson recounts in her new book, haunts the present-day story of Renisha McBride’s tragic death.

Latasha Harlins, Renisha McBride, Social Media and Slain Black Girls – The Root.

 

Views – 239

Kendrick Johnson case: Video expert finds surveillance footage ‘highly suspicious’  – NY Daily News

CNN video expert Grant Fredericks examined hours of video provided by the Lowndes County school district. He said that crucial footage that would have explained the Georgia teen’s untimely death was missing from the recording.

Print

SHARE THIS URL:
A video analyst said that around an hour of footage is missing from each of the gym’s four cameras.

CNN

A video analyst said that around an hour of footage is missing from each of the gym’s four cameras.

There were four cameras installed inside Lowndes County High School’s gym when Georgia teen Kendrick Johnson walked inside this January.

According to family members, none of these cameras explain how or why the 17-year-old’s body was found rolled up inside a wrestling mat the next day.

In fact, a CNN video expert said he was “highly suspicious” of the surveillance footage that the school district handed over.

Kendrick Johnson was a 17-year-old student at Lowndes County High School. He died on January 10 in the school’s gym.

@TOMJONES161 VIA TWITTER

Kendrick Johnson was a 17-year-old student at Lowndes County High School. He died on January 10 in the school’s gym.

CNN obtained 290 hours of footage from 35 cameras stationed around the gym after filing suit. After forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks poured through the video, he told CNN that the files had been “altered in a number of ways” and that he was “missing information.”

RELATED: BODY OF GEORGIA TEEN FOUND DEAD IN ROLLED UP WRESTLING MAT WAS STUFFED WITH NEWSPAPER: REPORT

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office is insisting that they did not change the videos and that the teen’s death was an accident. They claim Johnson died when he was reaching for a shoe that had fallen into one of the mats.

Photos from the scene of the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson.

VALDOSTA/LOWNDES REGIONAL CRIME LABRATORY VIA CNN

Photos from the scene of the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson.

But Fredericks disagrees.

“Those files are not original files,” said Fredericks, who has worked as a consultant for the U.S. Justice Department and as a contract instructor for the FBI’s National Academy. “They’re not something investigators should rely on for the truth of the video.”

The Johnson family had raised concerns that the videos didn’t have any timestamps. The footage is reportedly jumpy and blurred.

New surveillance footage of Johnson’s death has been deemed ‘highly suspicious’ by a CNN video expert.

CNN

New surveillance footage of Johnson’s death has been deemed ‘highly suspicious’ by a CNN video expert.

RELATED: PHOTOS SHOW DEATH SCENE OF TEEN FOUND IN WRESTLING MAT

“Either the cameras did this on their own or a human being interacted to make these cameras do these things,” said the Johnsons’ attorney Chevene King.

However, Fredericks said that these irregularities could easily be explained. The gym had motion-triggered cameras, which is why the students in the footage would erratically disappear and reappear. The blurry splotches could be explained by an out-of-focus lens. And Fredericks was able to find a time stamp.

Kendrick Johnson was last seen entering his high school gym at 1:09 p.m.

CNN

Kendrick Johnson was last seen entering his high school gym at 1:09 p.m.

What really concerned Fredericks was that some of the video seems to be missing.

In total, Fredericks said that Johnson showed up in about 18 minutes of the footage. The teen walked into school at 7:31 a.m. He was last seen at 1:09 p.m., entering the gym.

RELATED: FEDS OPEN PROBE INTO DEATH OF GA. TEEN FOUND IN ROLLED-UP MAT

The Johnsons have been trying to discover the truth about their son’s death.

CNN

The Johnsons have been trying to discover the truth about their son’s death.

One pair of cameras was missing about an hour and five minutes of footage. They started up again at 1:09 p.m., after Johnson walked into the gym. There was another gap in two more cameras—both missing about two hours and 10 minutes each. These cameras resume recording at 1:15 p.m. and 1:16 p.m.

“I can’t tell you whether there was no information recorded in the digital video system or whether somebody made an error and didn’t capture it or whether somebody just didn’t provide it,” Fredericks said.

Lowndes County police said that it took them several days after Johnson’s death to obtain the footage. A detective saw the video the day that the teen was found. He asked the school’s information technology officer to make a copy. It was delivered five days later.

“Right now, what they’ve done, is they’ve left it up to the school district as to what it is they want to provide to the police, and I think that probably is a mistake,” Fredericks said. “You don’t want somebody who might be party to the responsibility to make the decision as to what they provide the police.”

The sheriff’s office is maintaining that the case is closed. But Johnson’s family hasn’t given up the fight.

“We are Kendrick Johnson,” his mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, said. “That’s my child, and we’re going to fight until it’s all over, until we get the truth. That’s all we’ve ever asked for — was the truth about what happened to Kendrick Johnson.”

Kendrick Johnson case: Video expert finds surveillance footage ‘highly suspicious’  – NY Daily News.

Views – 347

Who will defend Black women? | Florida Courier

Who will defend Black women?

 Filed under COMMENTARIES 

00-drjuliannemalveauxAll Renisha McBride wanted to do was to go home.  She had been in a car accident, her cell phone was dead and she needed help.  She knocked on a couple of doors in the suburban Detroit neighborhood where she was stranded, but it was well after midnight and people weren’t opening their doors.  Finally, she found a homeowner who opened his door, but instead of offering the help she so desperately needed, he shot her, saying he thought she was going to break into his home.

He didn’t shoot her at close range; he shot her from a distance.  He might have simply shut the door, or he might have shut the door and called 911.  Instead he shot 19-year-old McBride in the face.

Law enforcement officials have said that Renisha’s death is a homicide and her family is waiting to see if the 54-year-old homeowner will be charged.

Blame the victim
There are chilling parallels to the Trayvon Martin case.  All we know about the murderer is that he is a homeowner.  But already the character assassination of Renisha has begun. Her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. She may have had marijuana in her system.  She may have, but that’s not definitive.  So why has that information been leaked when no one has leaked a murderer’s name.

If Renisha were drunk as Cootie Brown and high as a kite, she did not deserve to be killed. Why didn’t the “54-year-old homeowner” call 911 and tell them there was a drunken woman on his porch?  Why did he shoot?

Renisha McBride’s murder bears attention for several reasons.  First of all it reinforces the unfortunate reality that young Black people are at high risk for violence, often because too many shoot first and ask questions later.  Secondly, in the cases that are highly publicized, usually it is the massacre of a young man that is at the center of a case.  It is important to note that young Black women are too often at risk.  And it is important to ask what we plan to do about it.

The case of Marissa Alexander
Marissa Alexander didn’t want to take another beating.  Her husband Rico Gray is an admitted abuser whose brutal beatings of his wife were described as “life threatening”. She fired a warning shot into the ceiling to warn off her abuser husband. She was charged with felony use of a firearm and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

The prosecutor in this case, Angela Corey, is the same one who only reluctantly charged George Zimmerman in the massacre of Trayvon Martin, the same prosecutor who assembled a flawed legal team, the same prosecutor who believes in the Stand Your Ground laws. That is, except for Marissa, who stood her ground against an abusive husband and hurt no one.

With domestic violence an epidemic in our country, it seems unfathomable that a woman who wanted to prevent it is charged with a crime.  While the civil rights community has surrounded Marissa, I am not aware of women’s organizations or domestic violence organizations that have been similarly supportive.  E. Faye Williams of the National Congress of Black Women says that her organization has been active in assisting Marissa, and that’s a good thing.

Black women vulnerable
Marissa Alexander’s incarceration and the murder of Renisha McBride have something in common. They illustrate the vulnerability of Black women, both in the legal system, and in the public perception of race and gender.  Black women are not afforded the privilege of standing their ground against batterers.  Black women can be shot at far range because a 54-year-old homeowner was so frightened that he had to shoot.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux is a D.C.-based economist and writer, and president emerita of Bennett College for Women.

Who will defend Black women? | Florida Courier.

Views – 149

Strange Fruit (Class of 2013): dedicated to the memories of Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell and Kendrick Johnson – Jasiri X – YouTube

Dedicated to the memories of Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell and Kendrick Johnson, Strange Fruit (Class of 2013) was produced by Religion and directed by Haute Muslim

Free Download at http://jasirix.bandcamp.com/
Follow Jasiri X at https://twitter.com/jasiri_x

LYRICS
They say Jasiri X you preach too much
I’m like Black people we asleep too much
A Black President but he doesn’t speak for us
Another Black body lynched is not unique to us
Meanwhile Kanye‘s rocking confederate flags
Jay Z and Barneys going half on sweaters and bags
It’s not their fault it’s ours all we measure is swag
They getting money get money what’s better than cash
Forever in last riding in Berratas and Jags but don’t crash
If you do and need help don’t ask
Cause all Renisha got was a shotgun blast
Just for knocking on the door left rotting on the floor
Half her face gone but no one was locked up like Akon
Black life comes with no insurance like State Farm
Race wrong black people better put ya brakes on
End up on a strange porch ended up as stained corpse
Different city same sport
It’s not a accident if you hit the witness you aimed for
Bullets left her face torn
Victim in a race war make a nigga hate more
Show up at that same door let that 38 roar
What will be my fate Lord death by an officer?
Who I ran to thinking help he would offer up
10 shot to the chest stretched now they chalking
Another black man looking fresh in that coffin or
Beaten to my ribs cracked rolled up in a gym mat
Blood on my kicks match police say I did that
No crime the kids black cased closed casket shut
But take his organs fill em with newspaper and patch em up
Now tell me if that bullshit is matching up
I know you just wanna see her twerking then back it up
But that’s what happens when we make our rappers leaders
And our most intelligent just wanna be on TV speaking
And they give reality TV shows to preachers
and we think activism is Facebooking and Tweeting
12 years a slave we still fighting for freedom
Just look at the headlines seeing is believing

via Strange Fruit (Class of 2013) – Jasiri X – YouTube.

 

Views – 163