Earlier: As some may know, I have been haunted by--and closely followed--the killing of Kajieme Powell, 25, by two white cops in St. Louis, near Ferguson, one week ago. I was one of the first to comment on Police Chief Sam Dotson initial report on the killing, and one of the first to post the horrid video that soon emerged that captured the entire incident. Since then, I've tracked the weak media and public responses almost every day as the police accounts proved misleading or downright false.
Thanks to some of the media coverage, the overwhelming focus on the Michael Brown slaying, and skillful spin by the local authorities, the Powell case quickly faded. Perhaps that may change if anything comes a Missouri state senator's request yesterday for a federal probe of the episode and police procedures. More on that here.
What's perhaps most remarkable has been the lack of details that have emerged about Powell's life, beyond the fact that he once lived in New York, and that he has been living with his grandmother. When his mother spoke to the press, slamming the police and "oppression" of blacks, only RT (the Russian propaganda channel) covered it briefly. "My son was tired of that oppression," she said.
Many have suggested he suffered from mental illness, with no evidence beyond his actions on the fateful day and shouting at the cops, "shoot me!" Others have claimed that he may have had a political agenda, offering himself as a "martyr" to the cause of exposing police brutality. I should note: at this late, we still have not been told the names of the two police shooters. On the police incident report they are only listed as "victims."
I've checked Google News and blogs and social media every few hours now for the past week and been amazed that so little has come out about Powell's background--please let me know what I've missed. But today I got a seemingly important tip.
Someone named "tadams0620 " left a comment at my most recent posting on Powell. It indicates that he or she found Powell's Facebook page--under his (perhaps) real name Antoine Powell. We all know how many times people have IDed falsely someone involved in a high-profile case on Facebook or Twitter. However, in this case, the ID appears likely true. The photo (above) looks like Powell in the videos; the bio has him living in New York and St. Louis and being a fan of St. Louis sports teams. He has friends in both places.
I have since searched "Antoine Powell" at Twitter and found two people, on the day after he died, revealing that he was their cousin, he had just died (one specifically said at the hands of police)--and his name was Antoine. I've contacted them and hope they respond. One had tweeted, "Rest In Peace to my cousin Kajieme Antoine Powell he was killed yesterday in St. Louis by a police officer."
Powell posted little at Facebook but among his favorites are several blazing lion images, one of which also shows up at the only Twitter feed, which goes back awhile, for a Kajieme Powell (his handle including "89," the year he was born). One of them he titles "Lion of Judah," which, of course, is a biblical reference, and also applied by Rastafari to Haile Selassie and embraced by black Israelites. But more revealing you have his most recent posting and comments at Facebook, which were followed by one from a friend, Toy Toy Wright, who wrote on August 21: "R.I.P. Kajieme. I will always remember the good conversations we had about religion, politics, injustices past 'n present. I always thought U had a good grasp on whats going on to be so young. I always believed that u would go into politics. Sleep in peace brother."
And what was she reponding to? He had written on July 16 under an illustration of cartoon characters he had just posted as his new cover photo: "I want a Lawsuit Damn It!!!!!!!! All of the characters in this photo are hederal sexual!!!!! Especially the Mighty Wind!!!!!!!! That's That!!!! Racist!" Later: "Ecclesiastes 7:7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad." On August 9: The 'illuminati' is trying to steal my work, kill me or imprison me, and take my credit and profit off my genius...No! I don't think so."
And the same day:
Until I get this Lawsuit I will not comply with Law Enforcement. That's That!Then he again goes silent.
I have not confirmed that this is indeed Kajieme Powell but it sure sounds suggestive and very likely. I'll keep probing and update ASAP.
Update: See comment below from a Rose M, who is quite certain the Facebook page is his, and excerpt here:
What I found interesting is some earlier posts on the Antoine Powell page. In some of them he references the 14th amendment, and also that people are watching him and recording him on their cell phones. He also says the Illuminati are after him, and also earlier he had posted many links to YouTube videos about microchip implantation and other conspiracies. He, or that Facebook user, seemed increasingly suspicious and a bit paranoid. If the reports of him being mentally ill are true, posts like that might not be surprising. There were very few comments from friends on his page; majority of the comments and likes to statuses were from himself.
It makes this case even more sad; he was mentally ill, scared, alone, and suffered a horrible and unnecessary death. Every day I feel more sympathy for this person, and wish there could have been another, better resolution to this tragedy. It did not have to happen like this.