Bassem Masri, a 31-year-old Missouran known for his work live streaming the Ferguson protests, has died, according to reports by several close friends and colleagues on Twitter.
The circumstances around Masri’s sudden death are unknown. However, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that authorities don’t consider the death suspicious, nor were there any signs of trauma. St. Louis American reported that he may have suffered a massive heart attack.
Faizan Syed, a family member of Masri’s, announced the death on Facebook, in a post that read,
“Bassem Masri son of Zhudi Masri, Muslim Palestinian young man who stood for his beliefs and was on the front lines in Ferguson returned his soul to Allah (swt) today. He was my cousin from my wife’s side of the family. A gentle man who was fierce when he faced injustice. In his short life he did as much if not more to unit the fight for black liberation and Palestinian liberation. We ask everyone to pray and make dua for Bassem and his family. May Allah accept his sacrifices for justice and overlook his flaws and mistakes.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1, The Circumstances Around Masri’s Death Have Not Been Revealed
According to The Cut, Masri’s cause of death has not been released or confirmed. Though there has been no word by police or family yet regarding any suspicion of foul play, internet users were quick to speculate the bizarre coincidence of Masri being the fourth Ferguson activist to die abruptly in the years since the protests.
The three other Ferguson activists who have died since 2014 are Deandre Joshua, Danye Jones, and Darren Seals. Joshua and Seals were both gruesomely shot to death then set on fire, and the murders have never been solved. As for Jones, his death was deemed a suicide by the police, though his mother, Melissa McKinnies, has insisted that her son was murdered.
2. Masri Was Known For Live Streaming the Ferguson Protests
Masri first became known as one of the Ferguson protestors who live streamed the events in Missouri, as well as other St. Louis protests during the time period. Journalist David Carson described Masri as a person who could be “very intense fighting for what he believed…but he’d also spent time just talking calmly about life in general during quiet times at protests.”
Masri also became well-known for his fiery interview on CNN in November of 2014, where he was asked about speculation that he had spit on a police officer. When Masri was asked whether he believed he was helping his movement with that “behavior,” he replied, “You know, I don’t believe we should be looking at citizens, how they react to public servants. It should be the other way around…people are pissed off about how they’re treated.”
Masri continued, “We have a right to be mad. Our anger is justified so any other narrative besides that is people getting off the subject.”
3. Masri Lived in St. Louis at the Time of His Death
According to his Facebook, Masri lived in St. Louis at the time of his death and worked as a life and health insurance broker. He attended Hazelwood Central High School and was single with no known children.
4. Masri Planned to Run for the Missouri House of Representatives
Masri ran and operated a Facebook page for his 2020 political campaign for the Missouri State House of Representatives. On the page, Masri wrote in August, “When I win the seat in the Missouri house in 2020 better get ready for my unfiltered candidness.Because I wont let any lobby influence me& I’m going to work hard on police reform,going after big pharma for creating this opioid crisis as well as getting those addicted ppl help.”
5. Immediately Following His Death, Activists Flocked to Twitter to Mourn the News