Ebony hit with $5M libel suit in teen's death

By By Victor Blackwell CNN
Published On: Aug 29 2014 03:11:04 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2014 12:24:16 AM EDT

Johnson Family

(CNN) -

The parents of two former schoolmates of Kendrick Johnson's have filed a $5 million slander and libel lawsuit in federal court against the publisher of Ebony magazine and writer Frederic Rosen.

The lawsuit, dated Wednesday, claims that stories written by Rosen and published in Ebony magazine and on Ebony.com imply that the brothers played a part in Johnson's death and their father was involved in a conspiracy to cover it up.

The claim that the brothers played any part in the death "is completely untrue," according to the lawsuit.

Johnson, 17, was found dead in the center of a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, in January 2013. The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office determined that his death was an accident and closed its investigation in May 2013.

Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson believe their son was beaten to death and investigators have covered up his murder.

The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Michael Moore, launched a federal investigation into Johnson's death and into the local investigation in October. The federal investigation is pending.

Rosen's reporting on Johnson's death has been removed from Ebony.com

Johnson Publishing Inc. and Rosen declined to comment on the lawsuit.

CNN is not naming the students mentioned in the lawsuit because none of them has been named a suspect in the death of Johnson.

Comments

The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus