The parents of Kendrick Johnson, Attorney Benjamin Crump and community activist Marcus Coleman joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss a new piece of legislation that would require all coroners in the United States to be medically licensed professionals.
Attorney Crump told Martin “coroners in most states in America only need a GED and win a popular election and they get to determine the manner and cause of death” of an individual who has died.
Crump went on to say they are working with National Association of Medical Examiners who want the qualifications “more sufficient for the person who is making such an important determination.” He added those individuals who perform the duties of a coroner should have a medical background.
“Many times these people (coroners) have high school diplomas, won the election, work real close with the police and whatever the police say — they kind of rubber stamp it,” Crump said. “It’s just wrong, because if they say it’s not a homicide, if it’s a suicide or something like this case where they say [Kendrick Johnson] did it himself — this stops. The prosecutor doesn’t do anything else and say, ‘well we’re sorry your son is gone and we move on to the next thing.'”
“Kendrick’s Law,” as it is being called, would put an end to the scenario described by Crump and require all coroners to be properly credentialed.
Last week, the Johnson family filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Lowndes County School District., members of the the Valdosta Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.
Kendrick’s mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, told Martin the Lowndes County School District has not “said one word to us” in regards to the death of her son.
Community activist, Marcus Coleman considers the lack of cooperation from the Lowndes School District in turning over the original hard drives containing video surveillance footage of the gym where Johnson was found dead, “a game.” He told Martin, they are anticipating a federal court ruling that would force the school district to turn over the hard drives so “we can see exactly what the U.S. Attorney is seeing.”
“Two years later we still fighting, seeking for the truth about what happened to my son. That’s all we ever asked for was the truth about what happened,” said Mrs. Johnson.
Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father said, “We can’t continue to go on living our lives with us not being able to tell our other kids what exactly happened to their brother because they want to know.”
Listen to Martin, the parents of Kendrick Johnson, Attorney Benjamin Crump and community activist Marcus Coleman discuss $100 million wrongful death lawsuit and the proposed legislation titled “Kendrick’s Law” in the audio clip below.
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