Black Teen Dies After Being Chased By White Friends Who Made Racist Remark

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A family is seeking answers after a Black teenager died in Pennsylvania following an alleged game of tag with his white friends, per the Atlanta Black Star.

Justin Johnson, 16, died on April 26 after telling his father that he was going outside to “play tag” with his friends near his home in Lower Paxton Township, Pennsylvania.

Home surveillance footage shows Johnson heading outside after a white teenager rang his doorbell. Another white teen joined the group from across the street. Video shows the pair later chasing Johnson as he runs down an embankment next to his home and disappears from view.

One of the white teenagers then said: “Yo, where the [expletive] did he go? He just went back to f–ing Africa!”

Johnson is later seen walking back to his home alone. After an hour of being inside, Johnson’s father attempted to call him, but the teen didn’t answer.

The father came home to his son unresponsive on the floor. Johnson was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Questions surround whether the teen’s death was racially motivated. Attorneys representing the family also believe the TikTok trend “Senior Assassin” could have played a role in Johnson’s death.

“It’s our belief that (Justin) was in fear,” attorney Nicholas Johnson said in a statement.

The Central Dauphin School District, where Johnson was a student, addressed speculation surrounding his death in a statement.

“We understand that the circumstances around Justin’s death have not been determined, however there are social media reports that indicated that Justin was subjected to racial insensitivity from classmates,” the statement reads. “Hate speech or any behavior that denigrates another person’s rights will not be tolerated and is not consistent with the mission, vision, and values of CDSD. We are aware of the social media posts and are cooperating with local law enforcement.”

According to an autopsy report, Johnson’s cause of death was complications of sickle cell disease, which the teen’s father confirmed he was diagnosed with. A coroner said Johnson also suffered from cardiomyopathy.

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo confirmed that an investigation into Johnson’s death is ongoing.

“It is a factor that militates against criminal liability, but it is not dispositive,” Chardo said. “One of the factors we look at: did the other individuals know of the circumstances? Did they cause stress intentionally or recklessly with malice? We look at all those factors, so we haven’t closed it automatically just because the coroner determined that it was natural causes, we’re still looking at it.

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