Lesley McSpadden, mother of slain 18 year-old Michael Brown speaks during a press conference at Jennings Mason Temple Church of God In Christ, on August 11, 2014 in Jennings, Missouri.
Michael B. Thomas—Getty Images
By Gina Martinez
August 11, 2018

Lezley McSpadden announced her run for Ferguson, Missouri’s city council Friday, four years after her son, Michael Brown, was killed.

McSpadden, known as one of the “Mothers of the Movement,” made her announcement near the street where her unarmed 18-year-old son was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9, 2014. His shooting death sparked protests in Ferguson and helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement. McSpadden has been a vocal advocate for police reform since.

At the press conference announcing her candidacy, McSpadden promised that if elected she would be the people’s voice. Since her son’s death, she said she has “learned to walk again, and this is one of my first steps.”

“Almost four years ago to this day, I ran down this very street, and my son was covered in a sheet,” she said with friends and civic leaders backing her. “It broke me, you know. It brought me down to my knees and made me feel crippled, as if I could do nothing else anymore.”

McSpadden said as councilwoman she would focus on health care, community policing and jobs. She also called on Missouri Governor Mike Parson to reopen the investigation into her son’s killing.

When asked why she’s pursuing public office, she responded, “If a mother had to watch her son lay on the street for four hours, and watch our community be completely disrespected by the people we elected, what would you do? You would stand up and you would fight, too.”

Her run comes days after Bob McCulloch, the county prosecutor who handled the investigation into her son’s death, lost in a Democratic primary against attorney Wesley Bell. McCulloch declined to bring charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Brown, drawing intense criticism from the community. Bell currently faces no Republican in the general election, making him a safe bet to win in November. McSpadden said she supports Bell.

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