FBI seeking family of man tied to civil rights crime

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The FBI is seeking public help in locating the next-of-kin of a man allegedly shot and killed in Alabaster more than 40 years ago.

Federal prosecutors are searching for anyone related to Nathan Johnson, who FBI investigators believe was shot and killed in Alabaster in 1966. According to Alabaster Police Department Deputy Chief Curtis Rigney, Johnson was shot by a former Alabama State Trooper.

According to an FBI press release, two law enforcement officers stopped Nathan Johnson under suspicion of drunken driving and transported him to the Alabaster Police Department. While at the station, Johnson allegedly struggled with one of the law enforcement officers and was shot and killed.

Johnson’s case is one of 33 cold-case civil rights-era cases in the nation for which the FBI is seeking the victims’ next-of-kin.

“Due to the passage of time, and the migration of many families, the FBI has been unable to identify the victims’ next-of-kin in 33 cases,” read the press release.

The search is part of the FBI’s Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative, which began in 2007. Through the initiative, the department has identified 108 “unsolved or inadequately solved racially motivated homicides” across the country and forwarded them to FBI field offices.

“These cold cases have actually been open since 2007, but they are still active investigations,” said Paul Daymond, media and public affairs coordinator at the FBI Birmingham office. “That’s why we are still looking for leads in these cases.”

After the field offices collect information on the cases, they then forward them to the U.S. Department of Justice, where the cases are federally prosecuted, marked as closed or referred to state prosecutors.

After investigating the cases, the FBI attempts to notify the victims’ families. However, the department has been unable to locate anyone related to Johnson, along with 32 other victims across the nation.

Anyone with information regarding Johnson’s family is urged to contact the Birmingham FBI office at 326-6166, or the FBI national headquarters at 202-324-3000. For more information, visit www.Fbi.gov.