On January 11, 2013, the body of Kendrick Johnson was discovered inside a vertical rolled-up mat in the gymnasium of Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, United States, where he was a student. After a preliminary investigation and autopsy concluded that Johnson’s death was accidental.
On January 11, 2013, the body of Kendrick Johnson was discovered in the gymnasium of Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, found headfirst in the center of a vertical rolled-up wrestling mat. The body was discovered by fellow students who had climbed up to the top of a cluster of mats, each of which stood nearly six feet tall and three feet wide.
Actress Jenifer Lewis is drawing attention to the death of Kendrick Johnson, a Black teenager whose dead body was found in a rolled-up gym mat at his south Georgia high school’s gymnasium nearly eight years ago, and now the narrator of the recent Starz documentary “Finding Kendrick Johnson” wants Congress to hear why this case is critical too.
During an appearance on “TMZ Live” on Wednesday, Dec. 15, the “Black-ish” actress shared her passion for the case and documentary, which was written and directed by documentary-maker Jason Pollock, who co-produced the project with “Girls Trip” producer Malcolm D. Lee.
Lewis, who also has a producer credit on “Finding Kendrick Johnson,” told TMZ that the documentary was “officially an Oscar contender,” noting that she was happy because “we need to find justice for the Johnson family.”
Kendrick Johnson’s case was reopened in March after federal investigators provided Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk with documents related to the case requested two years earlier. Still, Lewis said enough is not being done and not quick enough.
Johnson’s death was initially ruled accidental. However, his family had a private pathologist conduct a second autopsy, which concluded that he died from blunt force trauma. In a 2019 lawsuit, the family claimed the teen’s organs were removed in an attempt to interfere with the investigation into his death.
Lewis strongly believes Johnson’s death is being covered up by the state of Georgia, but she is working hard to bring more awareness to this tragic case.“This is the most important film I’ve ever worked on. What this family has gone through is unspeakable, but we must speak it, so the public knows the truth,” she told reporters.
The brainchild behind the film, Pollock, previously created the 2017 documentary “Stranger Fruit” about Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting victim Michael Brown. According to its description on IMBD, “‘Finding Kendrick Johnson’ is the feature documentary product of a 4 year undercover investigation into the facts of this case. From the creator of ‘Stranger Fruit,’ this new documentary hopes to shed light on one of the most important American stories of our time. So what really happened to KJ?”
“Finding Kendrick Johnson” is available on several streaming platforms, including Prime Video, Apple TV, and more.