Update (March 18, 2019): Activists are raising questions about the deaths of six men connected to the protests over Michael Brown's death, particularly given several of the men died under similar circumstances.
The New York Daily News reports three of the deaths have been ruled suicides, two homicides and one is believed to have been health related. Many in the Ferguson, Missouri, community are both frustrated and shaken up about what they call an undeniable connection between the deaths. Ferguson police, however, say there is no connection at all.
"We don't believe either one was connected to each other," said St. Louis County Police spokesman Shawn McGuire. "It's tough to come up with a motive without a suspect."
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Those who do believe in a connection ask why both MarShawn McCarrell and Deandre Joshua were found shot dead in torched cars. And as Rolling Stone reports, the family of Danye Jones, who was found hanged by sheets tied in complicated knots, claim the young man wouldn't have been able to use those knots. They also argue the sheets used to make the noose didn't belong to him or anyone in the family.
Others connected to the protests claim they've faced death threats and strange harassment.
Reverend Darryl Gray, a frequent protester, said he found a mysterious box inside his car and called the police. When a bomb squad arrived, they found the box contained a 6-foot python. Cori Bush, a well-known activist leader in the city, claims many protestors have been targeted with “harassment, intimidation [and] death threats.” Bush also says someone has shot at her.
Bush, as well as other activists, believe there are officers in the police department who are actively participating in white supremacist groups and attempting to cause harm to persons in her community. She thinks this is why none of the activists' deaths have been solved to the community's satisfaction. McGuire, however, says the neighborhood itself is to blame, citing a lack of cooperation from residents makes it impossible for detectives to solve the cases.
Still, Bush says she and her fellow activists will continue until they find answers. "They shut us up and they win," she said.
Original: Another Ferguson activist, Palestinian American Bassem Masri, has passed away. The St. Louis resident was known for documenting the Ferguson protests surrounding the Mike Brown case via livestream along with other significant demonstrations. His death was announced yesterday via Facebook by Masri's cousin Faizan Syed. He described him as a "fierce" man who fought for Black and Palestinian liberation.
Masri's Facebook page reveals he was a life insurance broker who attended Hazelwood Central High School. In August, he shared that he planned to run for the Missouri House of Representatives in 2020.
Journalist David Carson of the St.Louis Post expressed his condolences on Twitter. Carson explained that Masri fought for what he believed in and revealed the realities of life during Ferguson's unrest.
Sad news on Twitter about the passing of @bassem_masri, a live streamer who was frequently in Ferguson & other #STL protests. He could be very intense fighting for what he believed but he'd also spent time just talking calmly about life in general during quiet times at protests. pic.twitter.com/cPgp0LC2aG
— David Carson (@PDPJ) November 27, 2018
Masri is one of three other Ferguson activists who has died in recent years. Last May, Edward Crawford was found dead as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In 2014, DeAndre Joshua also died from a gunshot wound to his head in a death that was ruled a suicide. Just one year prior, Darren Seals was found dead in a burning car with six gunshots to his body.
In October, Danye Jones, son of protester Melissa McKinnies was discovered hanging from a tree in a reported suicide.
Supporters took to Twitter to express their thoughts about Masri's death:
Our friend and brother @bassem_masri RIP.
A fearless soldier.
A humble man.
A man of conviction.
My favorite warrior in the fight for freedom and equity. No person could be a more stronger and loyal ally than Bassem, no one! pic.twitter.com/LDQz4X5VPe
— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) November 27, 2018
RIP Bassem Masri. He was a one-of-a-kind presence in the protests & helped to tell the truth about what was happening every day and night. We all felt his spirit in the streets.
— deray (@deray) November 27, 2018
RIP Bassem Masri. He was known as a tough activist and fighter for justice in St Louis. But in person, he was kind and compassionate, funny and sweet. He was always trying to help others.
I am heartbroken. I can't believe he is gone. RIP. ????
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) November 27, 2018
Rest in Freedom @bassem_masri Please fam have a few people in your life that does a daily check on you and vice-versa. Bassem Masri was one of the first people I met in Ferguson. He was 100% real and also had a vision of what should be happening. The number of people who have
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) November 27, 2018
#RIP to my good friend/brother @bassem_masri who I met in Ferguson in 2014. #Bassem was one of the first ones who taught me how to Live Stream and every since then we became close #LiveStreaming friends!!
✊✊#Bassem WAS FAMILY✊✊
— Derk Brown (@DreadHead_46) November 27, 2018
The cause of Masri's passing is currently unknown.
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