About 200 supporters of Kendrick Johnson and his family chose the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination to hold a rally Friday on the steps of the federal courthouse in Macon.
Johnson was the Valdosta teen found dead in a rolled-up wrestling mat in his high school gymnasium in 2013. Local authorities ruled the death accidental, but family and supporters insist that Johnson was killed. Some even suggest a cover-up by local authorities of the facts of the case.
During the Macon rally, speaker after speaker added Johnson to the list of slain young black men of the past, from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin.
In March, Johnson’s classmates and their parents responded to subpoenas from U.S. Attorney Michael Moore’s office in Macon related to the case. Chevene King, the attorney representing the family, said a conversation with Moore before the rally left him optimistic about the investigation.
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“Based upon what I heard this morning, I have every reason to believe that will result in a positive outcome,” King said.
Johnson’s parents, Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, both attended the rally. Jacquelyn Johnson responded to critics of her family, some of whom the Johnsons say have accused them of trying to make money from the controversy.
“They say we don’t work no more, but we work every day looking for justice for our son,” she said.
While Kenneth Johnson turned the microphone away after his wife’s remarks, saying he had nothing to add, he did speak to reporters after the rally.
“We just want to come up here and let the U.S. attorney know we ain’t going nowhere until we get justice for our son,” he said.
Moore said he met with representatives of the group, including family members, and discussed some aspects of the case and what progress is being made in the investigation.
“We’re still working through it,” he said of the case’s status.
Staff writer Oby Brown contributed to this report. To contact writer Grant Blankenship, call 256-9589.