Lezley McSpadden, the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown, is running for city council in Ferguson, Missouri. CNN reports she made the announcement standing just a few feet away from the spot where her 18-year-old son was killed by police in 2014.
“Almost four years ago to this day, I ran down this very street, and my son was covered in a sheet. It broke me, you know. It brought me down to my knees and made me feel crippled, as if I could do nothing else anymore,” McSpadden said Friday.
Brown was unarmed when he was shot by a white police officer while walking home from a convenience store. His death helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement and caused nationwide outrage. Now it has also moved his mother to enter the world of politics.
McSpadden wants to work on rebuilding the relationship between the police and the African-American community, who make up nearly two-thirds of the 20,000 residents in the St. Louis area. If she is elected, her focus would be on ensuring access to health care for young children, economic equality, and community policing.
“I’m not going to give up, and when I’m elected, I will be the people’s voice — and not just the people’s choice.”
McSpadden is aware that there may be questions about her qualifications, but she sent a message to doubters that she is just doing what anyone would do after seeing the aftermath of her son’s death. She went on to say that she feels that it is important to stand up after seeing her community disrespected by elected officials.
Her announcement comes just days after the ousting of the St. Louis prosecuting attorney in the Democratic primary for the 2018 mid-term elections who oversaw the grand jury inquiry into Brown’s death. Robert McCulloch was widely criticized for his handling of the case, including the investigation into the officer that fired the shot that ended Brown’s life. He was defeated by Wesley Bell, who will take over the office from McCulloch because there was no Republican candidate. McSpadden has stated she will support Bell.
Bell has already stated he would have appointed a special prosecutor for the investigation into the death of Michael Brown. McSpadden used this statement to contrast between Bell’s intentions and his predecessor’s actual actions.
“I don’t think we’ll have to hold his feet to the fire,” McSpadden said of the newly appointed prosecutor.