Darren Seals, who was an instrumental force in the protests that followed the shooting death of Michael Brown by police, was found dead Tuesday morning in St. Louis County, Missouri. Police responded to reports of a burning vehicle in Riverview, which is just north of the city of St. Louis, and after extinguishing the flames found Seals body inside. He had been shot and authorities determined he was already dead when the vehicle had been set on fire.
Darren Seals was inspired into activism after the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. The shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis with a chequered history of law enforcement interactions with the local African-American community. Protests in the following days turned violent as looting occurred and police reacted aggressively. A grand jury was called and after 3 months refused to indict Wilson on any criminal charges. Seals was with the Brown family on the night the grand jury decision was announced, which he called “the ultimate slap in the face,” and claimed Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden cried in his arms.
Following the Ferguson protests, Darren Seals became a leading voice on Twitter talking about social justice issues affecting the black community. He used the username KingDSeals and described himself as “Businessman, Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa, Fighter, Leader.” He worked on an assembly line in a General Motors plant and was an aspiring hip hop musician, working with the group Bottom Boyz Movement. St. Louis police are actively investigating his death as a homicide though at the time have not named a motive or any suspects. Darren Seals was 29.