Mississippi Goddam Chapter 1: The Promise

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By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and PRX. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Billey Joe Johnson Jr. was a high school football star headed for the big time. Then, early one morning in 2008, the Black teenager died during a traffic stop with a White deputy. His family’s been searching for answers ever since.
Ten years ago, Reveal host Al Letson traveled to Lucedale, Mississippi, to report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While there, locals told him there was another story he should be looking into: Johnson’s suspicious death.

During a traffic stop with a White deputy, police say Johnson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But for Johnson’s family, that explanation never made sense.

In the first episode of this seven-part series, Letson returns to Mississippi with reporter Jonathan Jones to explore what happened to Johnson – and what justice means in a place haunted by its history.

506 episodes