For two years, D.C. resident Dannielle Brown has been agitating for the truth. She has been dealing with the grief and uncertainty surrounding the death of her son Marquis Jaylen Brown, who officials say broke a window in his dorm room at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh nearly two years ago and jumped to his death.

His mother believes there is more to the story. So on July 4, Dannielle Brown decided she had had enough. Without telling her mother or her oldest son, Jamal, she got her will together, put her rocking chair in her car and drove to Freedom Corner in Pittsburgh, a place known for Civil Rights protests. She’s been sitting there ever since, on a hunger strike until she gets answers about Marquis’s death.

“I’m willing to lay down my life to gain access to perform my own investigation on my son’s death and make sure this doesn’t happen to no other college student,” Brown said.

Marquis Brown grew up in Washington and went to DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, where he played on the varsity football team. In June 2018, he returned to Duquesne to prepare for his football season as a junior. Brown said she would talk to her son regularly, and during those conversations, she never detected a sign that anything was wrong.

That is what made what happened on Oct. 4, 2018, so hard to understand.

Brown said Duquesne University officials told her that her son was at a teammate’s off-campus apartment, where he took two puffs from a marijuana blunt. He returned to his dorm, Brottier Hall, where fellow students saw him in the hallway and in his room acting erratically. Those students called the authorities, Pittsburgh Police Department officials said.

The initial call was for a possible fight between Marquis and his roommate, but officers determined that wasn’t the case — the roommate was trying to calm him down. Soon after two Duquesne police officers, a campus security guard and a student resident assistant arrived at the room around 10:05 p.m., police said. Marquis Brown bashed the 16th-floor dorm window with a chair before jumping out, they said.

He was 21.

The case was closed in February 2019, according to a police statement. Dannielle Brown, however, still has questions about how the school and the police department handled the situation.

“You sat there and watched him do it and did nothing or your hands were on him as he went out that window,” Brown said. “It makes you scratch your head and say, ‘How in the hell did that happen?’ ”

So Brown sits in Freedom Corner, surrounded by photos of her son while looking upon the school she once trusted. She has rocked in her chair through the pouring rain and blazing heat, drinking only water and using the restroom at a nearby hotel. She has battled stomach pains and migraines, but she says the strength of her son’s memory has outweighed her body’s need for food. She is now on day 10.

Brown is hoping her effort will lead to a private investigation, conducted by her lawyer Lee Merritt. Duquesne conducted an investigation, but according to Brown, she was never questioned during the process.

“When I think about an independent investigation, it means you are going to talk to the kid’s mother, who knows things about their child, their behavior, what they would and wouldn’t do, whether they had a history of mental health issues or not. That was not simply done in my son’s case,” she said.

She also wants campus police officers, who are allowed to carry firearms, according to the school’s website, to be required to wear body cameras and be trained in handling mental health crises.

“I knew how important body cameras would have been in my son’s case,” Brown said. “If all campus officers can carry weapons, then they should have body cameras. There’s no excuse.”

Brown said she met with school administrators on July 7. She said she signed a nondisclosure agreement, so she couldn’t go into detail on the meeting. But Brown said, “I came out of there with similar information I already knew, and I’m not surprised because the independent investigation was done by their attorneys.”

Merritt, Brown’s attorney, and Duquesne University released a joint statement on July 9 saying: “Ms. Brown still has additional questions about the circumstances of her son’s death. For that reason, in the interests of transparency, Duquesne University has offered to make available for in person review to Ms. Brown’s counsel and/or investigator its complete Duquesne University police file on this matter at a date to be arranged and to request that the City of Pittsburgh Police likewise share its entire file on the matter with her counsel and/or investigator.”

Brown is still not satisfied. She not only wants the school’s investigation files, but she also wants a private investigator to have full access to information regarding the case without any restrictions.

Brown’s presence at Freedom Corner has drawn attention. Some people passing by remember what happened to her son. Some have brought tents, water, Gatorade, masks and hand sanitizer. And some sit with Brown overnight so she can sleep. People also held signs, expressing the same concerns about Marquis Brown’s death.

“I’m so humbled because I didn’t come here expecting this,” Brown said. “We turned Freedom Corner to tent city.”

She doesn’t know how long her protest will continue, as her appetite for truth and justice remains unsatisfied.

“I just came with a desire because I felt like I was suffocating,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of mothers suffering because our seed was taken from us under suspicious narratives and I’ll do this indefinitely until I see major changes.”