It's been nearly five years since Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. It was an event that reverberated across the country, driving increased national attention to the ways in which police violence affects color communities that bring increased calls to police reform and accountability.
On Tuesday, Brown's mother, Lesley McSpad, competed in a three-way race for a seat at the Ferguson City Council, a position that would give her the chance to push institutional change into the city and oversee the very police force whose officer shot her the lake. The McSpad lost that race and finished third with about 20 percent of the vote.
McSpadden (who sometimes goes to Lezley) formally announced his campaign to represent Ferguson's third division in August when she stepped away from where her son was killed in 201
She moved into the district shortly before she announced her candidacy and made her son's death a central pillar of her campaign, saying that one of her greatest goals for the city is to improve political accountability and reform. The McSpad also called for improved community health resources and better post-school programs for local children.
McSpadden is also a member of "Moving Mothers" – a group of black women who have lost children to police and vigilante violence, which played a central role in the national development of Black Life Matter. McSpadden was the second woman in this group to run for political office; In 2018, Lucy McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in 2012, won her congressional election in Georgia's sixth district.
"I don't want my kids to grow up in a city where what happened to Michael can happen to anyone else," McSpadden explained in May 2018 op-ed to the Root months before he formally announced his campaign . "We need to rebuild the entire system from the inside out. The only way that can be done is to have people like me who have been harmed by the system working inside it to get the right change that is needed. "
McSpadden said her personal experience made her the right fit  to represent Ferguson
McSpadden was in a competitive race in a predominantly black district and needed to defeat two other candidates for winning seat. Fran Griffin, a black mother and community organizer, sitting on several community cards, supported some local activists. According to unofficial results, Griffin won the election with almost 44 percent of the vote.
This means that Griffin unseated the third competitor during the race that was a member of Keith Kallstrom. In the police force, Kallstrom had supported increasing salaries for officers and stressed his support for Ferguson Police Department's ongoing reform efforts three years after signing a consent statement (a formal political reform agreement) with the Justice Department.
Both of his competitors had more experience in local politics, and McSpadden's critics argued that she had not been a reliable voice on local issues since she moved into the third section. But Brown's mother said she would bring an important perspective to the council. "I wanted to go back and do something right in a place that did something so bad for my son and I think that's what my son wants," McSpad said in a recent interview with the Associated Press .
While McSpad doesn't win, Griffin's success in the run suggests that the police reform supporters in Ferguson continue to see political success. In August, Wesley Bell, a black former Ferguson City Council member, defeated the established St. Louis County Prosecutor, Bob McCulloch – the man who did not secure an indictment against Wilson in 2014.
McSpadden says that even with her losses, she will continue to work to bring a change to the city. "I'm proud of the positive race we ran, and I loved talking to the Ferguson community," she said on Tuesday night in an e-mailed statement, the Associated Press reports. "Tomorrow continues the work and I intend to be part of it, regardless of my position. I don't go anywhere."