No Charges Will Be Filed in Death of Mississippi Student

Billey Joe Johnson accidentally shot himself after traffic stop.

Posted: 04/16/2011 10:11 AM EDT

The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it won't file criminal charges in the death of a Mississippi high school football player who died from a gunshot after he was stopped by a deputy in 2008.

On Dec. 8, 2008, Johnson was pulled over by Deputy Joe Sullivan for running a red light. Sullivan has said that when he went back to his police car to run a driver's license check, Johnson, 17, shot himself.

Federal officials said the evidence did not support a conclusion that Sullivan played a role in Johnson's death.

The NAACP did its own investigation after the shooting and found nothing to nothing supported “the notion that the junior running back was in the state of mind to kill himself,” AOL news wrote in 2008.

In addition to the NAACP taking up an investigation Johnson's death has inflamed suspicion, with his family and the NAACP previously rejecting any notion that the black teen committed suicide.

In 2009 a grand jury ruled that Johnson was the only person responsible for his death. The grand jury based its decision after hearing from 30 witnesses, including several forensic scientists.

Though the cases are not that similar, sadly this case evokes comparisons with the Danroy Henry Jr. case in which a grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in the shooting death of the Pace University student. Though the U.S. Department of Justice is now investigating the case, the fact remains that the families of two Black youths are still seeking answers about their loved one’s untimely deaths.

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