Jackson should keep his nose out of police investigation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Enough is enough. Leave Mississippi alone, Jessie Jackson. The outspoken activist won’t let up on his insistence that something sinister is behind the apparent suicide of a Marion County teen.

From the beginning, Jackson has cried racism in Raynard Johnson’s hanging death. Jackson — and members of the boy’s family — contend that his death wasn’t a suicide but a murder.

Both the Johnson family and Jackson believe the boy, who was black, was lynched because of a relationship with two white girls.

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Serious charges and, if a shred of evidence existed to validate the claim, the murderer should be hunted down and punished.

But unfortunately the case seems to be one of tragic teen suicide.

However, because of Jackson’s notoriety and his public cries of wrong-doing, no fewer than five different local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are reviewing the case.

Jackson believes he’s seen one of the hate-filled ghosts from Mississippi’s past come alive again. And he is determined to prove it.

Although two autopsies and three forensic experts examining the results have ruled that the death was suicide, Jackson won’t let up.

His latest tirade is over the FBI’s seizure of the boy’s computer. Jackson referred to the action as a &uot;Waco-style&uot; raid.

But an FBI video of the seizure disputes his claims.

If Jackson’s appearance or opinions were productive or helpful to the investigation in any way, we’d be supportive. But at this point all he’s done is create lots of animosity and is unfairly giving Mississippi a public black-eye.

As investigators finish up their work into Johnson’s death, Jackson should do us all a favor and find another cause.

We hope the next time Jackson feels the need to become involved in a Mississippi issue, he’ll leave the criminal investigations to professionals and strongly think twice before single-handedly damaging our state’s reputation.