At least six men with connections to the August of 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have died, some of them under suspicious circumstances. Now, there are some community activists who believe something sinister is at play, WLEX-TV (Lexington) is reporting.
The suburban St. Louis city was the scene of violent protests -- and even riots -- following the death of 18-year-old black man Michael Brown. Michael Brown was unarmed at the time of his death. As the protests later turned peaceful, police and even the National Guard continued to use heavy-handed tactics to manage the unrest, beginning a national conversation about the militarization of police.
Now, four years later, at least six of the people connected to the protests have turned up dead, and others report attempts having been made on their lives.
One of the men, Deandre Joshua, was found dead in November of 2014 during protests following a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed Brown. His body was found in a burned-out car just blocks from the scene of the protests, having been fatally shot in the head before his car was burned.
Two years later, in September of 2016, Darren Seals met a remarkably similar fate -- his bullet-ridden body having been found in a burning car.
Four other men associated with the unrest have died, three of them having committed suicide. MarShawn McCarrel shot himself in Ohio in 2016, Edward Crawford Jr. shot himself after telling a companion he was "distraught over personal issues," and Danye Jones was found hanging from a tree. Though his death was ruled a suicide, his mother says he was "lynched." A fourth man, Bassem Masri, was found unresponsive on a bus, having apparently died of a Fentanyl overdose.Cori Bush, herself a Ferguson activist, believes there may be more to the stories than tragic suicides and unsolved murders. He says that she and other activists are still harassed by the Ferguson police, their supporters, and white supremacists. She claims that her car has been run off the road, that she's been shot at, and that her home has been vandalized.
"Something is happening. I've been vocal about the things that I've experienced and still experience — the harassment, the intimidation, the death threats, the death attempts."The Rev. Darryl Gray also reports intimidation and attempts on his life. He says that he opened his car door one day to find a strange box in it. A bomb squad came to investigate, and it turned out the box contained a six-foot python.
"Everybody is on pins and needles."St. Louis police, however, insist that the two homicides are unrelated, either to each other or to the Ferguson protests. They say that witnesses have been uncooperative and, unless and until someone comes forward, they will remain unsolved cases.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.