FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECR
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2001(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CLOSES RAYNARD LADELL JOHNSON CASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After a thorough review of the facts surrounding the death of Raynard Ladell Johnson, the Department of Justice has determined that the evidence does not support a federal criminal civil rights prosecution. The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have completed their investigation into the death of Mr. Johnson to determine whether the circumstances leading to his death on June 16, 2000 arose from an intent to interfere with his civil rights because of his race. Mr. Johnson was a 17-year-old African-American male who was found hanged to death in the front yard of his Kokomo, Mississippi home.
Despite the tragic nature of this event, the evidence about Mr. Johnson's death obtained and reviewed by the Department of Justice does not suggest that a criminal act occurred. The Department explored every avenue of inquiry resulting in the interviews of numerous witnesses, the review of all available physical evidence, and the assistance of multiple forensic experts, including the findings of the medical examiner hired by the Johnson family. We have concluded that there are no other avenues left to consider.
State officials, including the offices of the Mississippi Attorney General, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the 15th Circuit Court District Attorney, and the Marion County Sheriff also conducted exhaustive investigations and reached the same conclusion.