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.
Let me emphasize: I have not confirmed that this is indeed Kajieme Powell but it sure sounds suggestive. I'll keep probing and update ASAP. @BrownBlaze is covering right now a town hall with Chief Dotson and others. Dotson said the officers fear for their lives. Some in audience shouted, "Liar!" Oscar Grant's father just asked a question.