I knew we could not trust the Homewood Police Department to be honest about what happened to Kindra Chapman. However, I am sad to say that I don’t think we can trust www.AL.com as a reliable news source either. Reporters are charged with reporting researched, unbiased, and truthful information. Every day, citizens are relying on the reporters to get the stories right. Shelia Smoot was the first journalist I ever followed in Alabama. She was the people’s reporter in Birmingham for the segment called 6 On Your Side. Somebody would write to her about a problem and she would go and find the truth. She set the standard for good reporting in Birmingham. She asked the tough questions, and tried really hard to get the stories right.
On July 23, 2015, AL.com published an article by Carol Robinson entitled Kindra Chapman’s Family: “We want the world to know she committed suicide”. Robinson reported:
“Despite community concern that the teen’s death was a result of police brutality – protesters chanted for justice in Chapman’s ‘lynching’ as recently as Wednesday night during a Sandra Bland rally in New York – video evidence of the hanging, along with witness statements, confirmed what police have said all along.”
For the last 8 years of her life, Kindra and her little sister have lived with their paternal grandmother who had been raising them with the support of their biological father and her aunt. The Chapman’s say they never said Kindra committed suicide. Additionally, they say they never saw any video at Homewood Police Department.
I reached out to both Black Lives Matter in Birmingham and AL.com for more clarity on this situation. Black Lives Matter has given me permission to use this video as their statement:
I got in touch with the reporter who wrote the original article published on www.AL.com. I asked her if she talked to the family herself. I asked her why she didn’t report the whole story. Here is what she had to say:
In summary, Carol wants you guys to know she was the first and only reporter to report on Kindra Chapman’s Story for a week. She tried emailing the mother, and was referred to the attorney. She said the family had not made a statement to anyone but BLM. Carol referred to Kindra’s mother as the next of kin, but by the grandmother’s statement I don’t believe that is relevant. I found evidence that Kindra, her sister and some cousins all were raised by their grandmother.
I appreciate Carol for responding to me about the article. She didn’t have to do that. Therefore, I think she felt like the article was quality reporting. In my opinion it was not. You can be 5th or 12th to report the story as long as you are the reporter who gets it right. Hopefully, next time she will be more thorough and less misleading in her reporting, and a source of truth for her audience. I hope her editors will do a better job of ensuring she has the support to do so.
The truth is Kindra’s mother is NOT the family. The statement came from her mother’s attorney. From my research, she was most definitely a part of her daughter’s life, but she would not be who we would consider “Kindra Chapman’s Family”. Sources say she is not the most reliable person to speak on Kindra’s behalf.
The family is still dealing with this matter as best they can. A reliable source informed me that Kindra’s Father stopped the body from being cremated yesterday. Black Lives Matter in Birmingham is working with the family, and NappyNaturalGirl.com will keep you updated…
This particular situation reminds of two powerful Malcolm X quotes:
I saw people on harassing Black Lives Matter- Birmingham because they stood behind Carol’s story. They believed her article to be true. Unreliable reporting can leave a town divided in matters such as these.
I urge you all to be careful where you get your news. Reporters have to be accepted by the communities they report on in order to get the facts. They have to love those communities and have an authentic interest in them.
(NOTE : Carol did take my advice and add an addition to the story on July 26 to include the entire family after our conversation via twitter)
UPDATED MONDAY JULY 27th, 2015
I am so excited to say that because of our efforts Carol Robinson went back on AL.com and added a paragraph to include Kindra Chapman’s paternal family views. I appreciate you for helping NappyNaturalGirl.com be a vessel of change. There is still so much work to be done… It was a sloppy addition, but it shows the power of independent media. Plus, now they know we are watching and not afraid to correct them… I love you 😍😘😍… I will make a video about this too!!! #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName #KindraChapman