More tragic news out of St. Louis hit during October that is reminiscent of the days of slavery and Jim Crow. On the morning of October 17, Melissa McKinnies, a prominent local activist that was integral to the organization of the Ferguson Uprisings in 2014, found the body of her 24-year-old son Danye Jones dead in her backyard. He was hanging with a sheet around his neck. “This is what I woke up to. They lynched my baby,” McKinnies wrote on a now-deleted Facebook post featuring a photo of the horrid scene. “I’m sick and losing my mind, but I had to let the world see what they did to my baby.”
Police have deduced that Danye’s death was a suicide citing a chair that was found near his body. However, McKinnies is firm in her belief that her son was lynched due to her work as an activist. A report from The St. Louis Post- Dispatch says that according to her, Danye was “upbeat,” not suicidal. She further implied that Danye did not know how to tie the knots used on the improvised noose. Though major news outlets initially did not cover the story, before McKinnies’ graphic post was taken down by Facebook, screenshots were taken, and the image of Danye’s hanging body have been circulating on other social media sites. Since the spread of the images (and reports by Black media), though they’re still running with the cops’ theory of suicide, mainstream outlets have started to pick up the story and report McKinnies’ theory.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched that the family of a Ferguson activist is being targeted. Several Ferguson activists have met untimely demises under dubious circumstances. Edward Crawford (the man captured in the iconic photo tossing a tear gas canister back at police during the Ferguson Uprisings) was found shot to death in his car in 2017, just like prominent activist Darren Seals in 2016 and protester DeAndre Joshua who was found after the Ferguson verdict in 2014. Seals and Joshua had gunshot wounds to the head, and their cars were set on fire.
McKinnies appears to be determined to attain justice for her son. In a recent Facebook post, she wrote, “4:51 a.m. and sick with grief but ready to get up and fight for my baby.”
Mrs. McKinnies recently sat down with Roland Martin to speak her peace on Danye’s death. Check out what she had to say below.