Have you heard about Kindra Chapman? She was a young black woman found dead in her jail cell an hour and a half after being arrested. Some people believe that she was murdered, and some others believe she may have actually hung herself. Her mom and aunt believe it was foul play. Until the investigation is complete and the information is released to the pubic, we are all just speculating. When I heard the story, I didn’t know it happened near my hometown Birmingham; in Homewood, Alabama. I was still processing Sandra Bland’s story. Both of these incidents are tragic. They both stormed social media at the same time.
Homewood, Alabama is a neighboring city to Birmingham. I consider Birmingham my hometown. My parents were born there, I spent the majority of my formative years there, I graduated high school and got my undergraduate degree from there. I know Homewood like the back of my hand. I have used the library, I’ve gone shopping there, and I’ve even bailed someone out of jail there once.
Around the nation people were talking about Kindra, but not not many people from Birmingham are talking. I reached out to several community activists and a few police officers… I got nothing. In frustration, I put a status on Facebook asking why wasn’t anyone talking about this. My inbox was soon flooded. I got messages like:
“I don’t want to become the next hashtag!”
“Maybe there was some mental issues going on.”
“I am not saying anything out of respect for the family.”
“I don’t want to get involved.”
“Be careful you are asking dangerous questions”
I can’t speak to what happened to Kindra because I am waiting on the same reports you are. No matter how the investigation turns out, here is what I want the world to know about the Homewood Police Department.
I am sure that there are some good police officers in the Homewood Police Department. There are probably more good police officers than bad ones. They can’t all be vultures. However, I am speaking on the overall reputation of this police department. You need to know how some residents in and around the area see things. If you know a good officer please shout them out in the comments. He or she could save a life. Most of the people I know from this area have great distrust for this particular police department.
1. The Homewood Police Department in general has a reputation, and it is not for protecting and serving. It is said in conversations on a regular basis by people in the black community, “Homewood Police officers don’t play.”
I am a 34 year old mother, wife, and law abiding citizen. I am afraid of the Homewood Police Department. If I still lived in Birmingham, I probably would not publish this. Clearly you can tell from some of the messages I quoted above I am not the only one. I have never had an incident with them, and I don’t want to have one either. Their reputation precedes them.
See what happens when they get involved in peaceful protest.
2. The Homewood Police Department in general is not known for respecting laws or people.
You can tell by the video that they don’t believe in reading you your Miranda rights. I thought that by law everybody has to be read their rights. Did you hear at the end of the video they were putting the other guy on a stretcher?
Chief Jim Roberson is the chief of police in Homewood Alabama. He personally has been named in at least 11 civil rights and excessive force cases during the course of his career. According to Bossip, “Astonishingly, most of the cases were dismissed because the men who filed suit were locked up and didn’t have the $150 filing fee.” Why is there a filing fee to report a crime? This large filing fee is a serious problem.
Additionally, Chief Roberson was suspended by Mayor Scott McBrayer of Homewood in October 2014. Mayor McBrayer wrote this on the chief’s suspension papers: “Your acts were done willfully and maliciously as an act of insubordination based on previous directions given to you by me as your supervisor.” If we can’t trust the Chief to act with integrity it is logical that we would not trust the department in general.
This isn’t a race issue to me. It is about the overall brand of the Homewood Police Department. We are speculating about if they killed Kindra because of how they come across to the general pubic.
Eldetraud “Trudy” Roy is an elderly white woman who was hit by a Homewood Police officer on a motorcycle. If you read the case for yourself you’ll find that she was given permission from another officer to cross the street before she was hit. This woman had a broken tibia and fibula, left and right femur, left and right hip, ribs 5-7 on her left side, a skull fracture above her left eye and a broken left arm. Her left arm never regained function. They dragged the case out for 9 years, and she died before she could get the money to just cover her doctor bills. The Homewood Police Department put their arms around Officer Suttles although he was speeding, had no siren on, and there was no emergency. They simply can’t be trusted to stand on the side of right.
3. I have been following Black Lives Matter Also- Birmingham protestors. They are a small radical group after my revolutionary heart. They set up a protest at the Homewood Police Department in what I would consider an overzealous fashion, but with admirable intentions. However, what I found most interesting was when six of the protestors got arrested, they reported having their shoelaces and belts removed. They also reported that they were not issued sheets. Aren’t all inmates treated the same? Check out what one protestor has to say here.
In conclusion, no matter what this investigation reveals, this will go down in history as another reason even law abiding citizens from my community and other surrounding communities will say they don’t trust the Homewood Police Department. There are so many police departments with negative stigma across the United States.
Are there certain police departments in your area you just don’t trust?