Seals was shot to death in 2016, then set on fire in his car in an unsolved murder. Local St. Louis media outlet the Riverfront Times obtained a declassified copy of the more than 900-page FBI report on Seals. The FBI fully redacted approximately 860 of the pages, and partially redacted parts of the remaining roughly 45 pages. In the report, the FBI called Seals “a self-described revolutionary who has espoused somewhat militant rhetoric and has access to weapons.” The Riverfront Times article shows how the FBI used local police to harass Seals. In June 2016, the activist was “investigatively detained” by local police who pulled over Seals in his car on FBI orders. Seals had proudly described himself on his Twitter account as a “Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa.”
On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the rise of the new black militancy with film director and producer Mobolaji Olambiwonnu. "The police murders of young black men and women in the United States, an average of three a day, along with a constant judicial and police harassment of those living in what Malcolm X called our own internal colonies have given rise to a new black militancy. Nowhere was this more evident than in Ferguson, Missouri following the murder of the teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.
People gathered in a Ferguson street Sunday to mark the sixth anniversary of the shooting death of local teenager Michael Brown by a police officer — an event that not only resonated throughout the community but came to ignite a national movement and conversation around racial inequalities and injustice. Sunday’s memorial service — held in front of an apartment complex on a painted and flower-strewn patch of pavement on Canfield Drive, where the 18-year-old died — featured speeches from local leaders, as well as Brown’s friends and family members. It was made clear that, even as the years pass, plenty of heartache remains. “Today, it’s just still hard,” said Michael Brown Sr., reflecting on his son’s death and its aftermath. “Over the years, going through and coming to this site, I was very angry.”
August 9 will mark six years since 18-year-old Michael Brown was murdered by policeman Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Miss. Since then, Wilson has walked free and the systemic issues that have plagued this nation throughout its history have gone unaddressed. That changed with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, which so thoroughly shocked Americans and established that the lessons from Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement that rose from it never had been absorbed. Now, at a moment of heightened awareness about racism, Black Lives Matter leaders and Black activists and artists such as the award-winning filmmaker Mobolaji Olambiwonnu are working to bring the lessons of Ferguson to all Americans. Olambiwonnu, a UCLA alumni and first generation African American, joins host Robert Scheer on this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” to talk about his as-of-yet unreleased film, “Ferguson Rises,” and why he chose to tell the tragic story from a perspective he finds lacking in mass media.
Like the financial meltdown of 2007–08, the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression and a period of political radicalization, this period will dawn a new epoch in struggle. The transition to a new period of struggle is always difficult due in part to the changes needed to adjust to a new political situation and orient to new developments. The process of adjustment will involve discussion and debate within and amongst activist, labor, service groups, and others on the current situation, studying past struggles to discover insights that could provide guidance for activists today and deepening an understanding of capitalism and nature political struggle.
The Close the Workhouse campaign aims to attack mass incarceration, without legitimizing or justifying the continued caging of people as punishment. We call for the closure of the Medium Security Institute, better known in St. Louis as the Workhouse, an end to wealth based pretrial detention, and the reinvestment of the money used to cage poor people and Black people into rebuilding the most impacted neighborhoods in this region. The Workhouse is part and parcel of a racist and predatory system of mass incarceration that grew directly out of slavery and Jim Crow and works to perpetuate this shameful legacy in America. The story of the Workhouse illustrates this oppressive history. The campaign is a collaboration of the individuals subjected to incarceration at the Workhouse and lawyers and activists engaged on the issue.
In 2017 my article, “Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man at Any Time,” told how St. Louis cop Jason Stockley killed a 24-year-old black man, Anthony Lamar Smith. Though Stockley claimed he had fired in self defense when Smith pulled a gun on him, evidence showed that he had planted the gun after the killing. When Stockley was found “not guilty” protests by thousands in St. Louis lasted for months, just as in 2014 when another white cop Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in neighboring Ferguson. Crises of cops indiscriminately killing black men keep intensifying throughout the area. In 2018, Stockley sued the City of St. Louis for putting him on trial in a case that could have created a precedent for cops being able to kill without ever being held accountable.
Michael Brown Sr. lies stock-still on his back on the floor of an art studio in St. Louis as an artist layers papier-mache on his arms, chest, and torso. Brown Sr. is a stand-in, the model for a life-size replica that St. Louis artist Dail Chambers is creating to represent Michael Brown Jr. — his deceased son. In the days and weeks that followed, other artists added their own interpretations to the cast, and community leaders, family, friends, and activists affixed messages of remembrance, of hope, as well as photos and tributes to Brown Jr. “Although everybody else has left since your death, we are still here fighting,” one 16-year-old girl wrote. The final exhibit, called “As I See You,” will be part of a memorial Aug. 9–11 for Brown Jr., five years after a police officer took the 18-year-old’s life in Ferguson, Missouri.
August 9 marks five years since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. While accounts of exactly what happened vary, Wilson shot Brown at least six times ― twice in the head. Brown’s bloody body was left on a residential street for four hours in broad daylight. Weeks of demonstrations, vigils and protests followed. These protests eventually turned into riots with militarized police officers on one side and fed-up Black residents on another.
Friday marked five years since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including once through the top of the head, and left for four-and-a-half hours to die in the street by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. Brown’s father, Michael Brown, Sr. used the grim anniversary to call for a reopening of the investigation into his son’s death. The killer cop has never been charged. “Justice has not been served,” Brown, Sr. said at a press conference Friday morning outside the St. Louis County Justice Services Center, not far from where Michael Brown was killed.
We were facing an occupation right from the start. We formed our own community units to make sure that folks were eating, safe on the ground and getting what they needed. By September, we were getting word that people from all over [the country] wanted to support the work we were doing. So, our core group of four people agreed that we needed to organize something more cohesive and that it needed to be centered on local people. Someone suggested naming our group “Millennial Activists United.”
Ferguson activist Melissa Mckinnies sat on her couch, her hair tied in a bun, and spoke deliberately, in a soft, hushed tone. The shades were drawn. On October 17, Mckinnies had woken to a terrible event. Early in the morning, when her husband, Derek, came home from his nightshift, he and Melissa noticed that her eldest son, twenty-four-year-old Danye, had left the light on in his basement bedroom. When they went to check on him, Danye was nowhere to be seen. Panicked, Mckinnies and her husband, Derek, searched the house and found a packed bag on the back porch, as if he had been preparing to go somewhere.
A Ferguson activist claims that her son was recently killed by lynching. Melissa McKinnies took to Facebook to share news of her son Danye Jones‘ death. The 24-year-old, who would’ve turned 25 on November 19, was found dead by his mother on October 17. In a since-deleted Facebook post, McKinnies shared graphic images of Jones hanging from a tree. The images have since been shared on social media. Unverified accounts from social media accounts claim that police have ruled Jones’ death a suicide. (Both hyperlinks include the graphic images of Jones. Viewer discretion is advised.) McKinnies participated in numerous protests in Ferguson following Michael Brown‘s death. She was a former member of Ferguson grassroots activist group Lost Voices according to ColorLines.
“When the cameras left, everybody forgot,” says Missouri-based Black radical organizer Tory Russell, talking about how quickly national attention turned away from Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown by a police officer four years ago. But, he adds, activists in St. Louis and Ferguson “sure as hell haven’t forgotten” and have continued to push for justice and accountability since the murder. In this exclusive interview, Russell, co-founder of the St. Louis-based grassroots organization Hands Up United and co-creator of its community service initiative Books and Breakfast, offers an update on the ongoing efforts of Michael Brown’s family and other racial justice activists in the Ferguson/St. Louis area.