The sudden breakup of the protest for Kenneka Jenkins’ death is almost as mysterious as the death itself, which led to the protests to begin with. The protest was called off Monday by Jenkins’ mom, Teresa Martin. In a video statement, Martin claims that some “unnamed” activists were using her daughter’s death to gain money and fame. Jedidiah Brown, founder of a church and leader of Calle Freedom Fighters, believes Martin’s statement was aimed at him but denies the accusations. According to Brown, Martin was told lies about him and refuses to talk. People were shocked by Martin’s claims.
The protest was initially going strong and stayed peaceful and focused on unity and supporting the wishes of Martin. Everyone seemed to appreciate Brown’s role. He had very positive and motivated people on his livestreams. Now, it’s over with such a divisive ending. It’s really odd that Brown wasn’t allowed to defend himself, he was a trusted voice of reason to many, including Martin. If she was referring to Brown as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” many disagree.
Brown was the central figure in the protest outside the Rosemont hotel. Often appearing on live streams. Shortly after arriving in Rosemont, he attempted to take an elevator to the mayor’s office while on Facebook live, but was stopped by police.
Lamon Reccord, according to his Facebook page, is the president and founder of Go Green Chicago, former organizer with Chicago Votes and a candidate for the 7th Ward Alderman arrived at the hotel to star the 21-hour protest on Sept. 12. He said it reflected the 21 hours it took police to find Kenneka Jenkins’ body.
Brown and Reccord received a huge response online and continued to attract a growing crowd outside the hotel. On Sept 14th, it appeared the protest would end after Andrew Holmes held a press conference.
According to the website Operation Restoring Innocence, Holmes is a “well known community activist…[and] a licensed private investigator…[who] works as the liaison between the organization’s clients, phone center, general public, law enforcement, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the media.”
Holmes claimed to view the hotel video surveillance and witness Jenkins walking into the freezer alone. This was a powerful statement because many people suspected foul play. It appears his goal was to stop the protest and get Reccord and Brown to leave.
The media ran with Holmes’ statement, but soon after Martin announced that contrary to what Holmes suggested, she did not want the protest to end. Martin, who still had not seen the video herself, said Holmes called her and said the hotel was losing a lot of money due to the protest and they offered to pay for the funeral.
After Holmes’ statement was debunked, the protest became even bigger. Brown started organizing buses and asking for donations. People from all over the country looked to Brown for updates and instructions how to help.
The surveillance video that was finally released to the public shows Jenkins stumbling into the kitchen area, but not actually walking into the freezer, like Holmes has claimed. The hotel now claims no such footage exists.
Nineteen-year-old Kenneka Jenkins went missing after attending a hotel party Friday, Sept 8, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois, a small town just outside of Chicago. Jenkins’ body was found inside the hotel freezer 21 hours after going missing. About an hour after she was missing, the hotel declined to check the surveillance cameras, a request that might have saved Jenkins’ life.
Jenkins lived with her mom on the west-side of Chicago and was invited to the party by her friend Irene. She borrowed her mom’s car and drove herself and three friends to the hotel. When they attempted to leave, they realized Jenkins’ keys and phone were left up in Irene’s hotel room. Jenkins waited in the lobby as her friends went up to retrieve her things at 3:30AM. This was the last time she was seen in the flesh, alive. When they returned, the lobby was empty. The car was still in the parking lot, but Jenkins was nowhere to be found. They called Teresa Martin, Jenkins’ mother, at 4am and told her what happened. She was very confused because Jenkins knew Martin was recovering from surgery and it was out of her character to be without her phone. Martin spoke to a 911 dispatcher from the hotel parking lot and explained her reason for concern. At this point, Jenkins was only missing for a few hours and the dispatcher suggested Martin go home and give her some time to show up.
On Facebook, people read and shared a post that contained screenshots of comments and one video clip. The comments suggested a 19-year-old girl set up by her friend. The video clip is from the hotel party and shows her friend Irene doing the livestream from another friend named Moneifa’s account. In the video, Irene is sitting on one bed wearing mirror sunglasses that show the reflection of a second bed across from her.
I watched Irene’s livestream, concentrating on the background conversations and Rene’s sunglasses. I can hear what sounds like a cry for help right before music kicks on. It sounds like someone saying “help me” for sure, but the music also has this high pitched vocal track that resembles the sound. The reflection in Irene’s glasses show a pair of jeans that resemble Kenneka’s, and she looks passed out on the bed. At this point, people are wondering- was Irene live streaming while her friend is calling out for help? Was she set up by Irene? The answer is no. – I did mention rabbit holes, right? Try to stay focused.
Kenneka’s story captivated millions of people and sent them searching for answers. The circumstances have sparked outrage, disbelief and a lot of questions. A lot of wild accusations are going around including suggestions that she was setup by friends and possibly raped. Some went further down the rabbit hole and wondered if she was the target of an organ harvesting ring. Many people are determined to make sure this case gets solved.
Kenneka was a smart, capable nineteen year old with a large group of friends. How could she just up and disappear? How did she end up in a freezer? Most of all, why wasn’t her mom shown the video immediately? The hashtag #JusticeforKenneka has become very popular. What justice will look like, is still a mystery.
If you want more independent reporting like this, please support Eric and TATM with a donation– Every $1 helps us grow!