Ferguson activist Melissa McKinnies believes her son was lynched. While the police believe otherwise, many think that it was the latest in a string of deaths connected to Ferguson.
The imagery is stark. A prostate figure, one completely devoid of vibrancy than his Facebook profile illustrates. It is a brutal, caustic image, one painted on the walls of Facebook by his grieving mother, wanting everyone to know that, “They lynched my baby.”
Per the Riverfront Times, the death of Danye Jones is being investigated as a suicide. St. Louis County Police Sgt. Shawn McGuire stated that he believed there were “no signs of foul play.”
The internet believes it to be an act of lynching, owing to the standing of his mother, Melissa McKinnies, in the St. Louis community. McKinnies was a member of the Ferguson protest group Lost Voices and later organized significant protests that took over the streets of St. Louis in September 2017, in response to the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley, who was found not guilty of the first-degree murder of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.
In a quote given to The New York Times, relayed by the Rev. Darryl Gray, an important activist in St. Louis, McKinnies “believes that (Jones’ death) was meant as a message to her.”
Further to that point, Gray follows the same line as the St. Louis police, stating that he was unaware of any evidence indicating foul play. But did point out that McKinnies and other Ferguson activists are often harassed via social media.
Numerous media organizations have put forward the theory that notable Ferguson demonstrators are dying under suspicious circumstances.
This is a pattern. https://t.co/b1GqRbdTKu
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) October 31, 2018
Elite Daily articulates the argument that numerous protesters have been killed in a nearly identical fashion. The Root takes it further, suspecting that the shifting official line draws a clear connection with the death of Edward Crawford, the protester who became an important figure of the aggrieved in Ferguson, and other protesters who have been killed in the years since. In particular, Darren Seals and DeAndre Joshua.
Police believed that Crawford shot himself in an attempted suicide, or by accident. Missouri Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (who represents the Ferguson area, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement) stated at the time, “I found out this morning another young man from my district died in the same fashion as two or three other people who were active in Ferguson,” she said in a speech on the Missouri Senate floor today around 9:15 a.m. CDT. “The people who were murdered at this point, they were all people who have been seen prominently in the media.”
She further noted to The Root that the death of Crawford was deliberately symbolic, stating, “no matter if it was a suicide, a mistake or a murder. He’s gone. This is somebody who represents the movement. This is another prominent person from the Ferguson movement.”
Whether this is connected to a larger plot or coincidence, or if the words of a grieving mother are the truth and the police report is fiction, it remains difficult to say. As it stands, the investigations of the deaths of Darren Seals and DeAndre Joshua remain open.
Yesterday, a well-known activist in Ferguson, MO found her son strung up in a tree. The police are saying it’s a suicide but it clearly isn’t. Y’all know it’s not. So far, no news outlets are posting about it, but Twitter is talking. #DanyeJones
— Nino Kahan (@tchotchkele) October 29, 2018