Two people hugging at memorial with photo of deceased next to them | Still from SoCal Connected, "Who Killed Josiah?", Courtesy Mark McKenna

Who Killed Josiah?

A Humboldt town is polarized over allegations of racism and police incompetence surrounding the death of college student Josiah Lawson. 

In April 2017, 19 year old Humboldt State University student Josiah Lawson was stabbed to death on the front lawn of a home in Arcata, California.  Lawson, a Perris resident,  was attending an off campus party when a brawl broke out over a missing cell phone. No one has been indicted or convicted of the crime.   “Justice for Josiah” became a rallying cry for community members, Humboldt State students and Lawson’s mother, all of whom demanded law enforcement do more to find out what happened.

Lawson’s death highlighted long simmering racial tensions among some local residents and Humboldt State students, many of whom have been recruited from urban areas like Los Angeles and Oakland.  Lawson is the second Humboldt State black student to be killed in the past two decades and both remain unsolved.

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