Prominent Ferguson protester Darren Seals was reportedly found dead from a gunshot wound inside of a burned car in North St. Louis. He was 29.
Seals lived approximately 12 miles from where he was found, reported The New York Times. No suspect has been identified in the killing.
Seals was a St. Louis native who was a factory worker and hip-hop musician, according to the St. Louis American. But he was best known for being an active participant in the anti-police brutality protests that began after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014.
In an interview with The Nation, Seals recalled the hours immediately after the shooting, before the story made the news and snowballed into an international media event.
“It wasn't even a protest yet,” Seals said. “It was a black boy being shot in the community. It was about ten other women and men out there, and the family.”
He added: “Before it became a riot, before it became a protest, it was just the community coming together.”
However, Seals was also a critic of how the Ferguson protests became part of a larger, widespread and well-funded movement, spearheaded by many people who were not from St. Louis and who had other interests at stake. He also suspected that outsiders were attempting to water down the police brutality focus.
“When white elites own and control [your] pro-black movement it's not a black movement, it's a white movement in black face,” he tweeted Sept. 1.
Seals also criticized the larger Black Lives Matter movement for using the protests in Ferguson to focus on other issues and raise money for their own causes.
“Donating to #BlackLivesMatter = robbing #Ferguson,” he tweeted Aug. 10.
And Seals didn't hesitate to criticize other protesters involved in the movement, including Deray McKesson, who became the de facto face of the Ferguson protests, despite not being from the area and not even arriving in Ferguson until several days after Brown was killed and protests had already been ongoing.
McKesson has, however, been featured in several national media outlets, been invited to speak on TV, does speaking engagements around the country, and enjoyed a large amount of contributions for his failed run for Mayor of Baltimore.
“The only thing #Deray...did in #Ferguson was tweet about our work and collect $,” Seals tweeted Aug. 9.
Seals attempted to keep the Ferguson protest energy focused on police brutality through an organization called "Polls Ova Police."
“The broken systems and policies that police enforce must be challenged,” the project website read. “We will not vote in favor of any candidate partnering with those who are not fighting for Black life. Polls Ova Police is the war cry of this generation.”