Nearly five years after her son Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Lesley McSpadden was defeated in the city council election.
McSpadden was one of three candidates vying for a council seat in the St. Louis suburb. She lost to Fran Griffin Tuesday night.
McSpadden, who also goes by Lezley, was among three candidates running to represent Ferguson’s 3rd Ward. If she had been elected, she would have overseen the police department linked to her son’s death.
Brown, who was African American, was fatally shot by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson while walking home from a convenience store in August 2014.
“I did this because we were all devastated over what we saw almost five years ago,” said McSpadden, 39, in an interview Tuesday with CNN. “I was personally devastated because that’s my son. My children witnessed the devastation.”
“After watching Ferguson over these years, I’ve looked for progress and I haven’t seen anything. My candidacy is the first step of building towards justice for my son and building towards a part of his legacy to make sure that my son did not die in vain.”
McSpadden said: “The response from the community has been nothing but supportive. People have stories they want to tell, and there are concerns, worries.”
The shooting death of the unarmed 18-year-old Brown sparked nationwide protests, fueling the Black Lives Matter movement. In November 2014, a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson in the case that eventually led to a Justice Department probe that accused the police department of systematic racial bias.
The Justice Department also said its investigation did not support federal civil rights charges against Wilson.
Two years after her son’s death, McSpadden wrote a memoir entitled: “Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown.” McSpadden wrote the book using the spelling “Lezley.”
Standing in the spot where her son was killed, she announced her run for the city council last August.
“I learned to walk again,” she said then, “and this is one of my first steps.”
McSpadden said she wanted to focus on community policing, mental health and wellness, and economic equality on the council.
“I chose to come back to a place that caused me pain to make it right for them (residents),” McSpadden said. “Michael’s death has taken so much out of me, but if I can help others, I would go through this process again and again and again.”
CNN’s Darran Simon, Nicole Chavez and Alta Spells contributed to this report.