From a Complaint filed today in Bell v. Pollock (paragraph numbers omitted):
On July 30, 2021, the documentary film Finding Kendrick Johnson (the “Documentary Film”) was first released, and by December 27, 2021, it was available for internet users to stream on multiple online platforms…. The Documentary purports to tell the story of the murder of Kendrick Johnson (the “Decedent”), a Lowndes County High School student whose body was discovered in a rolled-up gym mat in the high school’s gym in January 2013.
Defendants maliciously exploited the mysterious death of the Decedent and the imagery and controversy surrounding the Decedent’s death to fabricate a wholly false narrative and profit financially by painting the Bells as modern-day versions of those responsible for one of America’s most brutal and infamous hate crimes. The Documentary Film represents that the Decedent’s death was a murder. The Documentary Film further portrays that the murder was the result of criminal acts committed by Brian and Branden, two other Lowndes County High School students who it represents had “problems” with the Decedent around the time of his death. Defendants present the central thesis of the film, which is that the Decedent’s murder was a second iteration of the horrific, racially motivated murder of Emmett Till….[T]he Documentary propagates a conspiracy theory that the Decedent’s death was improperly ruled an accident, and it claims that Rick, the father of Brian and Branden, who worked as an FBI agent, engaged in a cover up operation to conceal his sons’ involvement in the Decedent’s murder.
The Documentary Film further states that Rick met with and intimidated potential witnesses. The Documentary Film also represents that Rick exploited his FBI connections to take the focus of the investigation off his sons to conceal their involvement in the Decedent’s murder…. The Documentary Film also falsely maintains that Rick was forced to resign from his position after the Department of Justice discovered evidence of his “corruption” in relation to the investigation.
The claim published in the Documentary Film that Brian, with the assistance of Branden, played a role in the Decedent’s death is obviously false to anyone who has conducted any inquiry into the facts surrounding the Decedent’s unfortunate and mysterious death.
Of course, these assertions are just the allegations in the Complaint (and just some of the allegations; the Complaint is long). We’ll see what happens to the case in court.