Commission on Human Rights
State Human Rights Executive Director asks FBI to Investigate death of Georgetown College Student
Executive Director John Johnson of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own investigation of the death of a Georgetown College student.
Remy Okonkwo, 18, was found dead in his fraternity house on March 31. Georgetown police have investigated the case and ruled the death a suicide. Scott County Coroner John Goble told media that a campus safety guard found Okonkwo's body hanging in the kitchen of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house on March 31. The state medical examiner ruled that Okonkwo died of asphyxia, Goble said.
Executive Director Johnson mailed a certified letter today to Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Tracy Reinhold in the Kentucky Regional Office.
In the letter Mr. Johnson wrote: “The circumstances surrounding his [Remy Okonkwo’s] death appear to be suspicious to a number of concerned citizens and Mr. Okonkwo’s mother. I am also concerned. We [The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights] have made preliminary fact-finding inquiries, and in doing so my concerns have increased.”
Mr. Johnson acknowledges that he is aware Georgetown Mayor Karen Tingle-Sames and Rev. Louis Coleman, executive director of the Justice Resource Center in Louisville, have asked state police to investigate this matter.
“By this letter,” Mr. Johnson writes, “I am officially asking that the FBI also conduct an investigation for what could be a possible hate crimes violation under federal statutes.”
The KCHR executive director informed the FBI special agent in charge that the state human rights commission is prepared to share any information it learns.
KCHR is the state government agency that enforces the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and policies of federal civil rights laws. It initiates, receives, investigates, conciliates and rules upon jurisdictional complaints. KCHR has jurisdiction in housing, employment, public accommodations, and financial transactions. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status in housing, disability, age (40 or over) in employment, and smoking status in employment. Complaints not dismissed, settled or conciliated go to administrative hearing where commission rulings have the authority of a court of law.