“Lost is the man who has more answers than questions,” he reflected a few days later.
And on Feb. 8, a heart-rending Facebook post foretold his fate: “My demons won today. I’m sorry.”
That night, McCarrel stood on the steps of the Ohio statehouse and shot himself dead.
No one — not friends, family or police — could say why he did it. McCarrel was a prominent local activist, having coordinated Black Lives Matter protests following the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. He founded a nonprofit called Pursuing Our Dreams, which provided monthly homemade lunches to the homeless.
Days before his apparent suicide, McCarrel had smiled for pictures taken on the red carpet of the NAACP Image Awards.
Just as he shared much of his life on social media, on social media too was he mourned, with condolences and tributes flooding into the Black Lives Matter Cincinnati Facebook page.
Not all the responses, however, were kind.
While off duty, Fairborn, Ohio, police officer Lee Cyr reacted to the news of McCarrel’s death with the comment “Love a happy ending.”
According to Dayton Daily News, it appeared alongside unsympathetic responses from others — comments reading “What a hypocrite” and “One less to worry about.”
Cyr was placed on administrative leave after an internal complaint alerted the Fairborn Police Department to the comment last month. He has now been fired, WDTN-TV reported on Monday.
The department said in a statement that Cyr’s action violated its social media policy.
For local activists, the comment highlighted some of the very issues that the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to combat.
“We have received a lot of negative responses,” Tristina Allen, a fellow organizer who knew McCarrel told Dayton Daily News in February. “I think it is completely unacceptable for someone who is supposed to protect and serve to have that comment towards someone who is dead.”
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