(September 6, 2016) A homicide investigation was underway Wednesday in St. Louis County into the fatal shooting of Ferguson activist Darren Seals, whose body was found in a burning car.
County police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda said the department’s arson unit was called to assist the City of Riverview with a vehicle fire Tuesday morning. When the fire was extinguished, the body of Seals, 29, was found inside. Seals had suffered a gunshot wound, Granda said.
“We are working with potential witnesses and doing everything we can, the same as we do in every case,” Granda said, adding that police had no suspects. “We need the community’s help on this.”
Seals, a St. Louis resident, was a leader of the protest movement prompted by the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. Seals was with Lezley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, when prosecutors announced in November of that year that a grand jury had declined to indict Wilson in Brown’s death.
“(Seals) was a young man who cared deeply and passionately about his community,” said local attorney and political analyst Lizz Brown. “Whether he was paying for Christmas gifts for the kids in the neighborhood or organizing young people. He will be missed.”
Seals described himself in his Twitter profile as a “Businessman, Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa, Fighter, and Leader.” In recent days, he tweeted strong support for professional football player Colin Kaepernick, who drew controversy by declining to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner before the San Francisco 49er’s pre-season games. Kaepernick cited racial inequality for his protest.
Seals, known on Twitter as King D Seals, noted that “white people” chastised Ferguson protesters for sometimes violent demonstrations. Yet many also chastised Kaepernick for his non-violent protest.
The St. Louis American, the self-described “voice of the area’s African-American community,” reported Seals recently uploaded a Facebook Live video saying police had once drawn guns on him and his younger brother. In July, Seals tweeted that he and his 14-year-old brother were pulled over at gunpoint by police who warned him to “choose your enemies wisely.”
Officer Granda said he had no knowledge of any such confrontation.
The grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York should not surprise us. Justice is in the eyes of the beholder and the criminal justice system is not blind. It derives its power from the larger societal framework that simply has many preconceived ideas about Black males. We must work relentlessly to change this and hold the system accountable. We must also support the people who are doing that and exercise patience in the process. Keep in mind the two chief law enforcement officers in this nation are Black: Barack Obama and Eric Holder, and racial tensions are at an all time high. To their credit they are doing quite a bit, but they face an uphill struggle. We should follow their lead on criminal justice reform and we should do everything we can for the young Black men around us before and after tragedy strikes. We should also consistently deplore what we are doing to one another; it’s senseless not too. All of these things reinforce the notion, “Black Blood is cheap.”
Current law enforcement approaches toward us as a people and the tacit societal approval behind it must change. Society inherently nurtures the belief that justice is nothing more than the interest and the sustained advantage of the stronger, and it has played out that way for centuries. The rationale is, “If they did things the right way, they would get what I have and so would their children.” Such self-righteousness obscures reality. The fact is people do all they can to give their descendants an advantage in the system and they tilt the scales to their advantage. It’s true with race, power and wealth and gender. It’s simply a human trait of passing the best of your efforts, lessons and acquisitions to your children, but you also pass your biases on as well.
When we first arrived, justice was never considered for us as a people. It was an elusive concept for which we prayed, fought, bled and died for. To this very day, she seems a distant stranger to many of our people still in terms of access, resources, familial ties and fair treatment in terms of the criminal justice system. Although all black people have felt the sting of injustice, poor black folks feel it the most. Having little to bargain with or offer they are viewed as inferior, unworthy and an unnecessary, troublesome burden by many—even middle class and upper class blacks. Our inner cities are filled with Black-on-Black crime, fatherlessness and substandard schools. This fertile ground of dysfunction produces young men who think that they or their peers have little value. Feeling powerless, they prey on one another and lash out at the larger system. This crab in a bucket mentality is celebrated in the music of popular culture. The sad fact is this, many of us have not learn to value one another the way we should and King’s Dream falls on deaf ears to many of the younger generation.
Let’s face the facts: statistics show young people who do well often succeed because of the systems and programs that strengthen them. Things like a solid family structure and access to education, faith-based organizations, mentoring agencies, activity, athletic and interest development organizations and employment services, give young people a fighting chance. If not, their doomed from the womb. The deaths of so many young black males or own the hands of many. The Black-on- Black gang wars, stand your ground advocates and law enforcement officers have all contributed to this. Passivity is not an option. Let your voice be heard, or remain entrenched in hypocrisy. The choice is yours.
Hakim Hazim is the founder of Relevant Now and co-founder of Freedom Squared. He is a nationally recognized expert in decision analysis, criminality and security.
Consider This is not about me, it's about us- all of us. Click on the video and take a moment with me to consider the FERGUSON incidents from another perspective. I would love to hear from you on this topic. Feel free to comment on the video.
FIX THIS MESS! IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY
I was driving down Derry Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, when I witnessed more than 20 Police Officers, leap out of their cars and take off running after a young African American male, who appeared to be no more than 16 years old. I don’t know what he did to generate this kind of response, but whatever it was I am sure that he is in a heap of trouble. This is the kind of scene that I have witnessed all of my life, a young African American male being pursued, tackled and then shackled, in full view of the community that love, hopes and cries for him. This is a double-edge sword for everyone involved. On one hand we have a young African American male, usually from a financially poor family, living in a single parent home, who is trying to fit-in to his tough, crime-ridden environment and survive the daily grind without the benefit of fully engaging in educational opportunities or social interactions offered in the schools or community centers. He appears to be conflicted about his identity. He is disrespectful to most adults and anyone in authority. He is hard, cold and distant from his emotional feelings, because he is “representing” a lifestyle that he can’t define, but feels that he must embrace to survive. On the inside he feels that he is a “good person” who is just misunderstood by people who don’t like his kind. On the other hand, we have the men and women who represent the “blue wall” of protection, commonly known as the police. They have become a military style force and very aggressive against street criminals. They feel justified, citing the type of weapons that many violent criminals are using to terrorize and control the communities they target. The average American citizen has had enough of the violent criminals that prey upon them. There has been a loud out cry for greater police protection and harsher mandatory sentences for criminals who use weapons or traffic drugs. The police response has been devastating to young African American males. The prison system has been called the new system of slavery in America. The image of Willie Horton, the convicted criminal who was released from prison, only to commit another major crime, and become the face of fear in America, continues to fuel the “fire this time.”
Far too often the person in the blue uniform is white and the person in the shackles is brown. Far too often the crime that has been committed is by a brown person against another brown person. The arresting officer, District Attorney, Judge, Jury, Prison Guard, and Probation Officer, that has control of the brown person’s life, are usually white. The dirty little unspoken truth, by too many of the controlling authorities, even when they are also brown, is that the brown person in their care is the reason for America’s problems and a drain on the society. Those who represent “the hood” and those who protect the community are at war. Travon Martin, Michael Brown, and all of the other brown persons, too many to mention, who were killed in the midst of this war, are mourned by a community that wants this war to end now! The police, who are winning the war, refuse to negotiate because they too point to their fallen comrades who wore the blue uniform to serve and protect, only to be killed in the line of duty. This is an American Tragedy with no end in sight!
I was particularly distributed by a recent episode of “Blue Bloods”, a television show that comes on CBS on Friday evenings. In this particular episode, a young black male is committing armed robbery at a grocery store, when two white police officers happen to come into the store. The black male throws hot coffee on the female officer and has a shootout with the male officer. The black male runs out of the store, with the male police officer in hot pursuit. The chase ends with the black male being cornered in a second floor hallway, and the male police officer, holding a gun on him. A young Hispanic boy looks out of his apartment door. The police officer tells the boy to go back inside his apartment. The boy appears to shut his door, but he continues to look at the standoff. The black male decides to jump through a closed window to the concrete pavement below. Her badly breaks his leg, and begins to scream that the white police officer pushed him. The rest of the show has the police officer trying to defend himself, while an “Al Sharpton” type character calls the police racist, and tries to bribe the Hispanic boy and his family to lie about what he saw. The particular program seems to have a lot of this type of storyline. Bad black criminals, corrupt black leadership (even the Mayor) and police officers who are only trying to do their job, and war against black criminals and corrupt black leadership gets prime time treatment. This is a real tragedy!
We have to speak to the whole issue. No longer can we wait for the next big scene to play itself out on the streets of America. No longer can we watch the next television show that validates justification of the new system of slavery for brown people. We are all responsible to fix this mess! We must fix this mess! If we don’t, the Fire Next Time just may consume us all! Source