The activist community is demanding justice for the son of a prominent Ferguson activist found hanged in his backyard earlier this week. Local authorities have denied rumors the incident was a lynching, however, and ruled the young man’s death a suicide.
Melissa McKinnies believes otherwise.
Mckinnies alleges her son, Danye Jones, was lynched after discovering his body on Oct. 17. The local activist detailed the shocking news on Facebook this week, posting graphic photos of her son hanging from a tree with what appears to be a bed sheet. The post was removed by Facebook but not before her followers circulated the claims on various social media sites, sparking messages of both anger and support.
“4:51 a.m. and sick with grief but ready to get up and fight for my baby,” McKinnies wrote Tuesday on Facebook.
Details surrounding Jones’ death are still scant, but a spokesman with St. Louis County PD confirmed to Atlanta Black Star that officers responded to McKinnies’ home on the morning of Oct. 17 and made the discovery.
“Our crimes against persons detectives investigated the incident and as of right now, based on the evidence and all the information we have, it appears to be a suicide …,” Sgt. Shawn McGuire said.
It wasn’t long before news of Jones’ rumored lynching sparked suspicions over the cause of his death, many noting his mom is an integral voice in the activist community in Ferguson, Missouri and was a central figure in the protests following the shooting death of Black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in 2014.
In just the last few years, three other prominent voices in the Ferguson movement have also been found dead. Police discovered the remains of Darren Seals in his burned-out vehicle in September 2016 and said his body had at least one gunshot wound. DeAndre Joshua suffered an eerily similar fate two years earlier, officers finding him shot to death inside a torched car the same night a St. Louis grand jury declined to indict the Ferguson officer who killed Brown.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Shawn Gray’s body was discovered in a river weeks after his family reported him missing. Gray was rumored to have been a witness to the grand jury in the Brown case.
The activist community has since flooded McKinnies with words of love and support as she continues to seek justice in her son’s death.
“Danye Jones is the fourth Ferguson activist to be found dead,” one woman wrote. “This is sick and disgusting.
#Ferguson activists are being targeted. Pay attention. If there is any way to support Melissa McKinnies or Dayne’s loved ones, count me in. This is horrific.”
“Danye is the son of Melissa McKinnies, a Ferguson activist who got involved in her community after Michael Brown’s death,” wrote another. “Authorities are ruling it a suicide, & want to brush this under the rug. there’s evidence it isn’t, & we won’t let them.”