FERGUSON, Mo. — As the nation moves into the holiday season, it’s been a brutal eight weeks since that dreadful day when Ferguson-based activist Melissa McKinnies found her son Danye Jones hanging dead from a tree in her yard; eight weeks with no answer from the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office regarding the cause of death.
While reports from police say the death was reported as a “suicide,” McKinnies says no, it was a “lynching.” She believes that she and other activists who have protested police brutality, including the deaths of Michael Brown Jr. and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, have been targeted and monitored not only by racists and White nationalists but also agencies within the U.S. government. She believes there was foul play in the death of her son and is calling on transparency by police.
“My son was murdered, point blank,” McKinnies said. “We are demanding the medical examiner’s office to release its findings and demanding police investigate his death as a murder.”
The St. Louis County NAACP is joining the McKinnies family in the call for transparency and justice regarding the murder of Danye Jones.
“There’s too many unanswered questions that we are demanding answers to,” said John Gaskin III, St. Louis County NAACP president. “We support Mrs. McKinnies call for justice and transparency in the death of her son.”
According to a report in The Washington Post, several deaths of Ferguson activists since 2014 have “inspired speculation that Ferguson protesters are being systematically murdered.” While the reports suggest there is no evidence yet regarding this, numerous media reports have confirmed the surveillance of Black activists by federal agencies.
Earlier this year, groups Color of Change and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit against DHS and the FBI regarding information on the government’s tracking of activists involved in the Movement for Black Lives coalition.
For McKinnies, the most pressing matter right now is justice regarding her son’s death.
“This is about justice,” she said. “All Black lives matter and so does the life of my son!”