As protesters around the country continue their effort to bring justice for George Floyd after he was killed by a police officer, other efforts of social justice have come to the forefront. One of those cases involves Kendrick Johnson, a Black teenager who was found dead in a wrestling mat inside of his high school gym.
According to ABC 27, Johnson was a student-athlete at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, when he died in 2013. An autopsy concluded his death was an accident. Johnson's family, however, believes he was murdered, and they're still fighting to figure out what really happened.
"My son got into an altercation and it led up to his death," Kendrick's mom, Jacquelyn Johnson, told ABC 27.
Inspired by the movement for Floyd, many people are now coming forward to support Johnson's family in finding justice. An online petition to reopen the case has garnered more than 1 million signatures so far. The petition alleges Johnson's peer, Brian Bell, killed the 17-year-old because he had become jealous of Johnson's popularity at school.
"Both Brian Bell and Ryan Hall, who is Brian Bell’s friend, had met Kendrick Johnson in the gym and then Brian Bell killed Kendrick Johnson," the petition stated. "Brian Bell has also stated that he killed Kendrick Johnson multiple times over the phone."
Attorney Benjamin Crump shared the petition on Twitter last week, saying the late teen's "killer was never held accountable."
"What happened to #KendrickJohnson in 2012 is HORRIFIC, yet his killer was never held accountable," Crump wrote. "Please sign this petition & spread the word that federal authorities need to reopen this case, so Kendrick & his family can get the justice they deserve!!"
What happened to #KendrickJohnson in 2012 is HORRIFIC, yet his killer was never held accountable. Please sign this petition & spread the word that federal authorities need to reopen this case, so Kendrick & his family can get the justice they deserve!! https://t.co/7ORW7ugLCn
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 6, 2020
Bell allegedly threatened Hall, according to the petition, saying "that if he did not keep quiet and help him move Kendrick Johnson’s body, his father, who is Rick Bell, who is a retired F.B.I. agent would make sure that he would pay for it."
Social media users pointed to the alleged threat as Johnson's story came back into online discussions.
Let’s not forget Kendrick Johnson and how evidence from his murder was manipulated and disposed of to cover up and protect the sons of a former FBI agent pic.twitter.com/I70tK1sIfw
— martial (@tchudaa) June 6, 2020
According to the petition, "Johnson’s organs were removed and replaced with newspaper to hide evidence, hide other injuries, and allow the time of death to be unpredictable."
The graphic details have also been noted in recent conversations on social media.
Anytime someone's organs are missing, you know it is foul play. How is this in question?
— Kellie Grady (@kgradyback2life) June 6, 2020
Although the story is now being discussed after Floyd's death, several social media users said they have been wondering about the case over the last seven years.
This story has always bothered me. I think he was killed by the Bell brothers. Missing organs, missing video footage, dad of suspects works for the FBI. Please reopen. I want more evidence of alibis. I want more info on this girl they were fighting over. The family needs answers.
— Jordan Belter (@BelterJordan) June 6, 2020
Taylor Eakin is the girl who was allegedly involved in the dispute between Bell and Johnson.
"Brian Bell found out that his girlfriend, who was Taylor Eakin, was having a sexual affair with Kendrick Johnson," the petition stated.
While the case still remains unsolved, people have blamed authorities for trying to cover up the details.
Kendrick Johnson was murdered and I’m convinced there’s a massive coverup involving the school, the police, and the coroner’s office. Too much smoke not to be a fire
— dane (@daneDamane) June 6, 2020
According to 11 Alive News, investigators said Johnson "died of accidental asphyxiation when he got stuck in the mat while trying to retrieve a shoe."
But calls for the reopening of the case have been ongoing. A spokesperson for the Johnson family began working toward another investigation into the death last year.
"Some reasons why we’re calling for the reopening on the federal level is because of the unethical behavior to put it lightly on behalf of the federal government," Marcus Coleman, a representative for the family, told 11 Alive in October.
The unsolved case of Kenneka Jenkins has also come up in discussions in recent days. According to ABC News, the 19-year-old Chicago woman was found dead in a hotel freezer in 2017. Social media users have been circulating a petition for Jenkins created several months ago, asking the FBI to reopen the case.
I want this shit opened back up because the entire story don’t make no sense and she deserves justice. SAY HER NAME. KENNEKA JENKINS! https://t.co/R77WXtRYpt
— cunt daughter / ACAB (@placehxldr) June 5, 2020
As in the case of Johnson, the story of Jenkins' death is still disturbing for many people who want justice for the young woman.
Yesss!! I could never forget! It happened 3 years ago but feels like yesterday… it didn’t sit right with me that they stopped investigating when she was clearly murdered !!!
— Ambz???? (@Gemm301) June 6, 2020
Advocates for Jenkins are determined to keep fighting.
No we aren’t gonna stop until all justice is served. I don’t see drama. I see an innocent woman’s life taken away at a young age and she deserves that justice.
— cunt daughter / ACAB (@placehxldr) June 6, 2020
The graphic details of the case are still fresh on the minds of the people fighting for the Chicago teen.
"Her [breasts were] exposed and her pants pulled down. Her pockets [were] pulled out as if someone went through them," the petition stated. "The hotels surveillance footage appears to have been manipulated. They didn't finger print the area nor did they do a rape test."