"Mayor Lumumba's Son Responds to Accusations that He Was Murdered" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Mayor Lumumba's Son Responds to Accusations that He Was Murdered

Over the weekend, various media outlets—irresponsibly in our opinion—published unsubstantiated rumors that Mayor Chokwe Lumumba was murdered, but with no evidence attached.

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, gave the following statement to R.L. Nave of the Jackson Free Press this morning responding to comments of Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes and others that his father was murdered:

"We know that our father was loved and appreciated by many and a number of people both in Jackson and around the world have inquired into the manner of his death. At this time, there has been no information provided to the family other than that provided at the time of his death by the doctors. The family will explore all possible causes of his death."

We urge other media outlets to act responsibly and not publish rumors before evidence is provided. This can have a very harmful effect and spread fear among a citizenry already traumatized by our mayor's death.

Meantime, we expect these reports to be Exhibit A in many media-ethics discussions in the years to come.

Comments

donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

Apparently, WAPT "broke" this rumor, and then Sam Hall followed up with a one-source story: Kenneth Stokes. Does The Clarion-Ledger seriously not know better than to do this!?!

New. Low.

Journalists are supposed to investigate rumors, not spread them. This is so irresponsible that I can barely see straight.

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theblastmidtown 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah i was in the country got back & saw mr stokes statement on tv to be honest i didnt even like them asking about who should run that really was a bummer.

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

I have not been home in Jackson very much since December and I have not seen a lot of local TV coverage of this story. But if an elected official is spewing nonsense like Kenneth Stokes, then the local media outlets have a responsiblity to cover it. I think most people will consider the source and draw their own conclusions. In my opinion, there is nothing suspicious about Mayor Lumumba's death. I do think the Mayor was less than honest about the state of his health when he ran for Mayor and none of the local media outlets really challenged him about this. So now we are facing another Mayoral election less than a year later.

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

No, they don't, kdavis. Certainly not in the way that they pushed it out there to be sensationalistic. Sam Hall's story in the Ledger didn't even indicated that he tried to call Antar or another member of Lumumba's family before pushing it. It just vaguely said that nothing had emerged or such, probably meaning he didn't find anything on the Internet from he searched.

There is a responsible way to deal with rumors, which actually includes doing homework about them and making every effort to talk to everyone possible. In this case, the media threw this out there while the family is in mourning. Just unbelievable.

And if you don't think there are a lot of people who believe it because Mr. Stokes said it, you don't understand Jackson very well. It's a rumor other irresponsible types were spreading already; he just seized on it.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is political groundwork being laid—before he is even laid to rest. That is horrifying.

Now, if anyone has any actual EVIDENCE that this could be true, feel free to get it to us, and we will actually investigate it before fueling the rumor fires. You know where to find us.

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

Donna, I think I understand Jackson very well. Most people think Kenneth Stokes is a grandstanding buffoon and this is just the latest example of that fact. What is a mystery is how he keeps getting elected. Stokes would be Exhibit A on why we need Voter ID laws in Mississippi.

My original point was that no media outlets, JFP included, challenged Chokwe Lumumba about his health during the election. There were plenty of rumors during the election that have sadly turned into fact that he would not live long enough to serve his 4 year term.

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NeilWhite 3 years, 7 months ago

Donna, you are right on target. The vast majority of our media outlets suffer from a severe mental disorder. They are the new gossips -- dying to find any dirt, true or not, to throw. They want to be first, they want to be "the one who knows," and they don't care a damn thing about good news, only the nasty stuff.

An ethics course in certainly in order. Sometimes I'm ashamed to call myself a journalist.

Neil White Creative Director & Publisher The Nautilus Publishing Company

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

Wait what does Stokes have to do with Voter ID??? Nice jump there. Anyway I saw these rumors coming and said the minute that the coroner announced cause of death without an autopsy it was going to be a problem. Black people have historical reasons to be suspicious I don't think that gives people license to be irresponsible though.

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually, kdavid, we did ask Chokwe about his health, and if you Google around, you will see that I personally made comments that they should not mislead on it.

But here's the bottom line: Had we reported that he had a condition he had not admitted to, or that we couldn't find medical records to prove, that would have irresponsible rumormongering -- which brings up back to the point of this post.

Speaking of sensationalism, The Clarion-Ledger picked up Antar's statement after we posted it, but it focusing on the part that they think will provide them cover for doing such an irresponsible story. Note the headline, then read the statement again:

Lumumba's family exploring 'all possible causes' of his death

Bottom line: The family has given us NO reason to think, or report, that they believe the mayor was murdered. In fact, the opposite so far. So watch those cherry-picked headlines. Textbook bad journalism. It's hard to believe even Gannett would allow what they've pulled on this one. I'm quite confident even USA Today wouldn't do this.

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

And Laurie is right, kdavis, on your voterID quip. That sounds like you're trying to spread a few rumors of your own.

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

(It is interesting that in their rush to spread the murder rumor, though, that outlets like the Ledger have missed the real story: the mounting campaign to get Chokwe Antar elected mayor. That's the news today.)

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

muliculturegirl: What does Stokes have to do with Voter ID? It's because his continually getting re-elected defies logic. There must be something else going on besides registered voters lining up in droves to vote for him. These latest comments about the Mayor's death are yet another example why he should not be in public office.

Donna, if Lumumba had been a white Republican, you would have put his X-rays in the JFP, privacy laws be damned, instead of just asking him if he was OK.

Now Lumumba's son is going to be the next Mayor. I guess Jackson has turned into a monarchy.

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually his getting reelected has nothing to do with voter ID and everything to do with who turns out in the polls where he is elected. Mostly older voters who he caters to.He has managed to get by on showing up at events and acting concerned about their issues whilst doing nothing. He has strong ties to the church and his local community and while I know he's full of crap and so do it doesn't mean they don't value him. His wife's ward (his former ward) has low voter turnout so don't know where these droves of people you're talking about are? I think that many politicians at the capital being reelected defies logic yet many seem to like to point out the black ones and go "look that's why we need voter ID because clearly black people don't have good sense". By that logic as evidenced by the Governor's mansion neither do white voters in this state. When has ANY news outlet ever required a physical exam report from a local politician? Did you complain when W. Bush became president and his brother was running Florida? If not please stop with the faux outrage that possibly Chokwe's son may run which it is common to have a family member run if possible if a lawmaker dies while in office.

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

I actually agree with you on one point. There are a lot of white politicians whose re-election defies logic too. That's why when people get defensive about requiring someone to show a drivers license at the polls, it makes you think something fishy is going on.

I hope the voters who put Stokes back in office will hold him accountable for these latest comments. I doubt that they will but I can always hope.

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

Not defensive about Voter ID if you have proof of voter fraud show it. Elections aren't stolen that way anyone who studies politics knows that. At least not by adding votes but you can win by making sure people CAN'T vote. Yes I am very OFFENDED by that not defensive.

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Knowledge06 3 years, 7 months ago

Kenneth Stokes isn't the only elected official in this state who has made suspect statements regarding any number of things but seems to be the only one where posters spend time degrading those who elected him. I submit to all of you that the governor of this state has made far more suspect statements regarding a number of things and has followed them up with policies that actually affect hundreds of thousands of people in this state negatively. Other than making a few people uncomfortable, Kenneth Stokes' words haven't harmed anyone. But yet you want people to hold him accountable for his opinion. Good look with that foolishness!!

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

Exactly! I can make a LONG list of lawmakers starting with Phil (Andy Gipson, Bubba Carpenter, Sam Mims, Joey Filingane, Chris McDaniels the list goes on and on) that have made not just foolish statements but offensive statements yet people rarely say the people who elected them shouldn't be allowed to vote.

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js1976 3 years, 7 months ago

"Other than making a few people uncomfortable, Kenneth Stokes' words haven't harmed anyone."

I would be willing to bet the words spoken by Kenneth Stokes has done more harm to the city of Jackson than the flood of '79! Stokes is full of nothing but "suspect statements".

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes I would like for people to hold him accountable. Saying that the mayor was murdered without a shred of evidence is pretty bad. Yet, people like Knowledge06 rush to his defense even when he says something this absurd. This has been enlightening. I am beginning to understand how he gets re-elected.

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

I never said that people should not be allowed to vote. But I would like to know that people are not voting for other people, dead people or voting more than once. The system that we have in place today does not prevent any of that from happening. Good day!

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

Back at you, kdavis. Do you think people should hold leaders accountable who've said that Lumumba—or even the RNA leader Obadele—"killed" a police officer? Neither man was in the building for the police raid on the house.

I agree that Stokes is being irresponsible here—and I suspect political. Of course, it would be different if he had evidence or sources. And I sure hope he's not right.

But none of that takes away the media's responsibility to actually do some reporting about rumors of murder before putting it out there.

As for your voter ID quip, you're just playing the black-people-cheat-at-the-polls card. I'll be honest: I know of more instances of white Republican voter fraud than attempts by black voters, and I've researched it.

I understand why many people like Stokes. Often, he is the only one helping or talking to a lot of voters in his ward. He helps kids, and he helps adults. And he knows, frankly, that his voters don't give a damn what you (or I) think of him.

He lost my respect when he rubber-stamped everything Melton did, and defended his attacks on poor black people that Stokes was supposed to be supporting. There for a while, ironically, he was aligned with the very people who hate him the most: Melton apologists.

Jackson is never dull.

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

As for your voter ID quip, you're just playing the black-people-cheat-at-the-polls card. I'll be honest: I know of more instances of white Republican voter fraud than attempts by black voters, and I've researched it.

I'm very busy but I can't let that accusation go unchecked. I'm not playing any card except that I truly cannot understand how Stokes gets re-elected. This latest comment about the Mayor's death proves my point. I don't doubt that voter fraud occurs on both sides of the fence. It just amazes me when I vote, I could tell them my neighbor's name and vote for him. That's all. I want everyone to vote who is properly registered. Period. I can't understand how Stokes wins just like multiculturegirl can't understand how Phil Bryant wins. I'm sorry that I "quipped" about voter id because the real story here is Kenneth Stokes' groundless accusations.

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

That's where you're wrong I actually understand how both win because I understand voter turnout and I understand the base of both candidates.

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

The real story is how the media is handling Stokes allegation. To be fair Stokes is voicing a concern. unfounded or not, within the community so there are those who will support him saying it. I am by far no Stokes supporter he has literally yelled at me at a county council meeting and disrespected me at more than one city council meeting. I have vocally opposed him often and harshly. The media knows better in handling these things you don't make a whole story based on rumors, unless you run a tabloid.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 7 months ago

YES. Kenneth Stokes is entitled to his own suspicions, but giving everything he says marquee coverage in front of an obviously unsympathetic white suburban audience while ignoring black elected officials whose views would be in closer alignment with theirs—so that he can "represent everything that's wrong with Jackson"—is ethically questionable under the best of circumstances, and certainly not an appropriate way to cover a prayer vigil with multiple speakers. I'm not mad at Stokes. I'm annoyed at people who pander to their reader base by using him as a fulcrum for their racial biases, especially when they do so while spreading a rumor they haven't even attempted to verify or debunk. It's the worst kind of lazy journalism.

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js1976 3 years, 7 months ago

WLBT is wearing this story out on Facebook! Stokes is nothing more than a media hog using anything he can to capture some airtime. I may complain about the stances that are taken by a majority of you at the JFP, but kudos to getting a statement out from Lumumba's family. WLBT and the CL are about one more Stokes post away from the unlike button on my FB page.

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Knowledge06 3 years, 7 months ago

There are no perfect politicians or leaders. With Mr. Stokes I choose to focus on the good that he has done and is doing. Whether others think those things exist is of no concern to me. I have a mind of my own and a can easily sift through rhetoric and foolishness to determine what is really important to focus on.

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

Those media outlets are using Stokes to get page views with no regard to its possible effect on our city. They should be ashamed. It's disheartening to me as a person, a Jackson citizen and a trained journalist.

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

kdavis, intentionally or not, the voter ID remark pushes stereotypes. Also, there are plenty of people of color (and even whites like myself) who don't understand how men like Phil Bryant get elected, either, not to mention some of them elected for lower office. That doesn't mean that it must be due to voter fraud.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 7 months ago

Donna, I don't know how closely you follow WLBT and the C-L on Facebook—I don't recommend it—but the way they troll bigots for pageviews is a wonder to behold. I always half expect to see "A black man had a pastrami sandwich for lunch. What do you think?" And you never finish reading a thread underneath one of these stories full of hope for the future of humanity. I'm sure these folks always have their oyster knives sharpened for any "look what Kenneth Stokes just said" story—whether it's newsworthy or not.

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Scott1962 3 years, 7 months ago

Pretend you're the CEO of a major corporation on your way from Texas to Alabama because you're seeking a new location. You stop in Jackson to spend the night and you're thinking "you know, good weather, location, maybe we should consider Jackson too". Then you turn on the news and see Kenneth Stokes making a fool of himself and you're stunned he's pretty high up the food chain in government. So you turn off your TV and pick up the Clarion Ledger or JFP only to discover that based on the articles in both, Jackson is still living in 1950 where everyone hates everyone else and all white men are evil. So you get up get dressed and get the hell out of Jackson as fast as you can. No one needs to be casting stones when it comes to local journalism

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donnaladd 3 years, 7 months ago

Page views at any cost. It's desperate and disgusting. It's bad enough how WLBT salivates over "if it bleeds, it leads." Ledger isn't as bad as it used to be on that point, but it took us all years to get their attention on the fact that crime sensationalism was helping destroy their readership.

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js1976 3 years, 7 months ago

"but the way they troll bigots for pageviews is a wonder to behold"

$^%^$%^ I'm agreeing with you again Tom! We may end up being BFF's before the year is out.

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multiculturegirl37 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom you nailed that one. Often my response to their threads are "are you serious don't y'all have news to put out" or "nice way to hype up a story". They don't like that.

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justjess 3 years, 7 months ago

It seems that Stokes has created a monster while giving cause for others to join his fight.

Check this out. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=561002740673669

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JLucas 3 years, 7 months ago

Stokes sounds like a simple-minded lunatic every time he brings up this "who kilt da Mayor?" accusation, which is typical of most conspiracy theorists.

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kdavis 3 years, 7 months ago

After watching Stokes' rebuttal to Dan Modisett's editorial on WLBT, I nominate Stokes to be the back-to-back winner of the JFP's stinker quote of the week.

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