Darren Seals

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Darren Seals (May 15, 1987 – September 6, 2016) was an American racial justice, anti-police brutality, and anti-gun violence activist from Ferguson, Missouri[1][2][3] who worked on the assembly line at General Motors.[4] In September 2016, he was found shot dead in a burning car.[5][6] St. Louis County Police are investigating his death as a homicide; they have not publicly identified suspects or motives.

Early life[edit]

Seals grew up in Ferguson, Missouri, a few blocks from the apartment complex where police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown.[7] Seals had known the Brown family since childhood.[8]

Activism[edit]

Seals was active in Ferguson, Missouri, protests in the wake of the police shootings of Brown and Cary Ball Jr.,[9] with his commentary appearing in media outlets, per CNN, "as he continued to be outspoken about racial issues after the Brown protests subsided."[7] He co-founded Hands Up United, and The Washington Post described him as "among St. Louis’s most prominent anti-police brutality activists."[10]

Seals had survived a shooting in 2013, and attributed his commitment to anti-gun violence activism to that experience.[10]

In 2014, he joined the Fannie Lou Hamer Coalition[11] and helped rally a movement to vote against the Democratic candidate for St. Louis county executive, by backing white Republican candidate Rick Stream. The move in the highly Democratic African American community was an attempt, as The Washington Post described it, to "demonstrate that their votes should not be taken for granted."[12] He was an integral part of this effort. His leadership connected the community and politicians to move 22,000 Democratic votes to the Republican candidate.[citation needed]

After voting for Barack Obama, Seals became a critic of what he saw as the President's insufficient action on many issues including police violence and racial profiling.[10]

Seals was a rapper in St. Louis group D.O.A.; in their song "Born Targets", Seals criticized police response to the Ferguson demonstrations.[7]

Seals was known as "King D Seals" on social media, and referred to himself as a “Businessman, Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa, Fighter, Leader".[13]

Death[edit]

Seals was killed on September 6, 2016, in Riverview,[14] a northern suburb of St. Louis. A homicide investigation revealed he was shot before he was placed in a car, which was later set on fire.[15]

Media outlets noted "the resemblance of Seals' death to the unsolved killing of Deandre Joshua,"[16] another Ferguson resident who was also found shot in a burning car two years earlier, on the night of the announcement a grand jury had not indicted Wilson in Brown's death.[17] Police report that while Joshua's case is still open and active, Seals' death has not been linked to it,[7] but nor has a link been ruled out.[18] The Daily Beast found four more cases of similar deaths in St. Louis County in the last two years.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Swaine, Jon (15 March 2015). "'A long 11 minutes': how Ferguson police reacted to the shooting of two officers". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Nadeska, Alexis (November 26, 2014). "This Ferguson Protestor Tells Us What It Was Like To Hold Michael Brown's Mom In His Arms After Grand Jury Decision". MTV News. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  3. ^ "DOJ will not charge Ferguson officer in Michael Brown shooting". fox5sandiego.com. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Caulderwood, Kathleen (17 August 2014). "Ferguson: Generations Of Economic Inequality Fuel Violent Protests". International Business Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Stewart, Mariah (September 6, 2016). "Ferguson activist Darren Seals dies at 29". The St. Louis American. Retrieved 2016-09-07. 
  6. ^ Mele, Christopher (2016-09-06). "Ferguson Protest Leader Darren Seals Found Dead in Vehicle". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-07. 
  7. ^ a b c d CNN, Eliott C. McLaughlin (September 7, 2016). "Police: Ferguson activist found shot in burning car". CNN. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  8. ^ Charlton, Lauretta (November 23, 2014). "Before the Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision, Three Ferguson Residents Share What It's Like in Their Hometown". Complex. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c Lowery, Wesley (September 7, 2016). "Who killed Ferguson activist Darren Seals?". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  11. ^ Rivas, Rebecca (September 17, 2014). "Black Dems form 'Fannie Lou Hamer' political organization". St. Louis American. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  12. ^ *"Ferguson activist Darren Seals found fatally shot in burning car". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-09-07. 
  13. ^ "Darren Seals Found Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. September 7, 2016. 
  14. ^ Bacon, John (September 7, 2016). "Ferguson activist Darren Seals found dead in burning car". USA Today. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Savali, Kristen West (September 7, 2016). "Darren Seals: Ferguson, Mo., Protester Found Shot to Death Inside Burning Car". The Root. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  16. ^ Pearce, Matt (September 7, 2016). "Ferguson protester Darren Seals found shot dead in burning vehicle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  17. ^ Healy, Jack (1 December 2014). "Another Killing in Ferguson Leaves a Family Grappling With the Unknown". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Bult, Laura (September 7, 2016). "St. Louis cops eye link between two Ferguson murders". New York Daily News. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  19. ^ Glawe, Justin (September 7, 2016). "Darren Seals Isn't the Only Ferguson Man to Be Shot and Torched in a Car". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 8, 2016.