Friday, September 9, 2016


 EDIT: I posted this at the first draft, because I do not know how much time I will have to work on it.  I am editing it now, at 7:30 AM, and hopefully will have a chance to clean it up a little more.  I apologize for the roughness, rambling, and typos.

I do not believe that Darren Seals murder was gang or crime related or random.   

There is a seeming backlash against Ferguson activists going on right now.  All of these police departments in the area got a huge influx of revenue and grants because of Ferguson.  And the increasing violence in the city has ramped up "crime fighting", which often is nothing more than a clampdown on poor neighborhoods.  (At no point in my memory has increased police presence reduced crime to any significant degree.  More police seem to only increase investigation and prosecution after a crime has been committed.)

In June Seals was pulled over by the Ferguson P.D. and covertly threatened.  The (great and very thorough) article from the Riverfront Times blames vindictive trolls. (The link to Seals' facebook video about the incident is included in the article.)

And this is very likely.  The backlash mostly seems to be individual police officers, and factions of officers.  (In my opinion emboldened by the lack of sanctions or systemic changes to the rank and file, and also the racism the Trumpsters have been whipping up.)  I do not think that all the police in the St. Louis have come to a decision to go after Ferguson activists, but I do think there are some, and that retaliation has begun.

Ferguson was different from every movement and uprising that has ever come before it.  Ferguson shook the world.  St. Louis had its first non-Cardinals related tourism for the first time in ages. National and International Media and celebrities came in droves.

The Justice Department could not make a few calls to the known leaders and quell the riots, as they have in the past.  They had to send a team here and that team went through the books and records of all these municipalities.  (Thank you, Justice Department.) The Justice Department wasn't able to make a lot of long lasting changes.  But they uncovered a lot dirty deeds.

And so did Ferguson activists.  And they still are.

The corrupt mechanism of St. Louis- that seems to be at the core in government, business, and law- lost a lot of power.   The people that run that mechanism have likely been waiting for the hoopla to die down so that they could retaliate. 

Seals was from the Riverview Gardens School District.  The gangs of his neighborhood apparently were at war with the gangs of Riverview and/or Glasgow Village. But I don't buy the story that the RG High School gangs killed Seals'. (It is possible, but I just don't believe it.)

I don't know that the Ferguson P.D. killed Darren Seals, either. I think it is just as likely that a businessman or woman, or a politician, had him killed to protect their own interests.  And that should frighten every citizen of St. Louis- not just those of us here in NoCo.  It frightens me much more than the thought of gang violence.

In St. Louis, if you have a dirty deed to do, you head up to Riverview. The area is 70% poverty (mostly African American, and partly "just enough to hang on in low rent/mortgage" and partly ephemeral and transient), and 30%  lower middle and middle class white (some holdovers from before "white flight").   Each street up here is its own entity. There is no village-wide communication encompassing all strata of residents.  (Yet.)

Even though every city cop could get his month's quota of tickets in one afternoon on Riverview Drive (and Hall street in nearby Baden-- another place dirty deeds are done secret, another place bodies are dumped in burning cars) you NEVER see cops on Riverview drive.

Not county, not city, not nearby Bellonfontaine Neighbours.  Riverview cops, sometimes.  But they are always busy.  There is no day without sirens in Riverview, or Glasgow Village.  Accidents, arguments, gunfire, shootings, theft, robbery.

And like every municipality they have to make those traffic quotas.  No local government can operate without the revenues from their traffic courts-which have nothing to do with real commuter or pedestrian safety.  This area is highly unsafe to drive in because of road conditions and lack of sidewalks.  In early August there was a huge six car accident with overturned vehicles at Scranton and Riverview Drive.  One of the most dangerous intersections in the area.(Almost nothing that happens in Riverview is ever reported on the news. That accident should have been front page on a slow news day.  If it had happened on the south side it would have been.  Not a peep.)

Why isn't Riverview drive patrolled? Who has the power to decide what streets get patrolled? And what streets never get patrolled at all? 

The apartment building parking lot where Seals' was found has hosted many dumped cars that were lit on fire.  So have many streets along Riverview Drive and Hall street. And not too long ago, a 67 year old woman was murdered. She lived in the apartments where Seals body and car were found, and had reported a number of these abandoned and torched cars. 

Riverview is so obviously ignored by law enforcement it is like Gypsy Rose Lee at a gathering of Deacon's wives; the elephant in the middle of the room, wearing a red dress.

Horrible, weird things happen in Riverview alot.

Bob Cassilly's death was suspicious, and only recently has it gotten any media attention.  Like most people I assumed if he was murdered, then it must have something to do with his business ventures.  (His own businesses, or a rival for the area- like the recent developments in Baden.  Or an attempt to keep a lid on Cementland's radioactive toxicity from reaching the news.)  But now I wonder if he wasn't just an inconvenient obstacle to some other nefarious activity going on at that site?

A woman was beaten in a moving car and then thrown from it 2 years ago on my street. Both Chambers and Riverview Drive host roving gun battles every other month or so. It is not unusual to find used needles and condoms in the street, and shell casings. (Not to mention stuffed garbage bags of god knows what that are thrown out of cars up and down Riverview Drive and also at the corners of Scranton, Adrian, Valley, and South East Chambers.)

This would be great place for hired assasins to ambush a Ferguson activist visiting his old high school friends (I don't know if this is really the case with Seals, just illustrating why I think the murder happened up here).  

And one of the strangest house explosions happened 18 hours after Seals' body was discovered.

This explosion didn't burn anything.  It only blew out the front and back windows, and the roof.  Or so it appears.  The house had been vacant for awhile. Who knows how much of that damage had already been done?  I really want to know what caused the explosion and why it was so strange.

Bomb and Arson unit were called and we need to demand a thorough investigation.  Just by nature of the fact they were summoned to the scene tells you how strange this "explosion" was.  Explosions are uncommon here, but not unusual. It really says something that even the fire department is suspicious. I believe that this house is connected with Seals death.

And since several people on Diamond are rumoured to have heard the gears in Seals' Jeep grinding, and also the driver apparently hit the bushes a few times, we need to make sure the police check the routes from the exploded house on Grampion to the parking lot on Adrian.  (The car was actually dumped at the parking lot on Adrian, not Diamond drive as reported in the news.)

We need to know not only who the driver was, but who the white man was that lit the fire and knew his way through the yards of the houses that line Riverview Drive?  

If Raqqa Mart or any other businesses have cameras we need to demand that footage be examined by the police.

I want to know how Seals' body was identified, and if there were any marks or bruises or remnants of tape or other clues.

Who did he talk to in his last days? Weeks? How much information do we have about his whereabouts before he was murdered?  When was the last time someone talked to him or saw him?  Where was he?

Darren Seals deserves justice.  We need to keep the spotlight on this case to protect the witnesses. And for the safety of every Ferguson activist.  We can keep ourselves safe by demanding a thorough investigation, by investigating ourselves, by bugging the media to keep publishing articles on the investigation, and by making all of our communities less safe for murderers.

In the last few months, in addition to Seals' encounter with the Ferguson P.D:

One activist who is known to be a gay man has reportedly been charged with having sex with an underage female.

A woman that witnessed the murder of Kajieme Powell died under circumstances that people that knew her found to be mysterious.  (I.e., not the spin the local media coverage gave it.)

And let's not forget the filing of charges against many activists that were arrested over a year later, last fall, and the subsequent harsh sentencing of Josh Williams.

I did not know Darren Seals.  I recognized his picture immediately, and his twitter handle.  (At Ferguson protests introductions were often made with twitter handles.) Whatever disagreements he had with Black Lives Matter and other groups that arose from Ferguson, he was respected by all and loved by many, many people.  His death is a loss for St. Louis, for social justice. 

Finally, on a personal note: I love Riverview.  I love Baden.  I've lived here for about three years.  I don't believe Darren Seals was killed because of some gang issue.  But there are gangs up here.  And a lot of kids that don't have anything to do and don't believe the future holds much for them.  Seals' murder has urged me to reach out to those kids in my community- to register to vote, to work for social justice and change, to encourage them to find things to do that they love, and work toward building a good lives for themselves.

On Wednesday night a kid was shot dead on Diamond street.  Was this somehow related to Seals' murder? I don't know. Since I have lived here a several kids have been shot and killed on Diamond.  In January of 2014 a kid (I believe named Noah Barnes) was shot and bled to death in the street.

I don't want to see anymore kids lying dead in the street, for any reason.  Our youth are our future. Some of this crime fighting money needs to go to the schools and economic and job development.  This cycle of violence and crime has got to end. 

And the good cops in St. Louis need to step up and start exposing bad cops, and the men behind the curtain. 

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