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‘They’re Dragging It Along’: Jenifer Lewis Collaborates on Kendrick Johnson Documentary, Calls on Congress to Investigate His Death

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.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 29: Jenifer Lewis attends attend the Los Angeles rally for Kendrick Johnson & premiere screening of “Finding Kendrick Johnson” at Laemmle NoHo 7 on October 29, 2021 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)

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.”

She continued, “The state of Georgia has to change Kenrick Johnson’s death certificate. It now has that he died of asphyxiation. His lungs were the normal weight. When someone dies of asphyxiation, their lungs fill with fluid. His lungs were not filled with fluid.”

The 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. 

“They’re dragging it along and dragging it along,” the veteran actress explained before addressing the nation’s top leader directly. “So, I am calling on Congress, Biden, Congress to investigate this case. They stole the boy’s organs. They murdered him, rolled him up in a gym mat,” she began. “We are calling on Biden, the Senate, and Congress to investigate this case.”

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. 

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