black lives matter

Everything We Know About the Death of Black Lives Matter Activist Oluwatoyin Salau

Photo: GoFundMe

On Monday, the Tallahassee Police Department announced the death of Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin Salau, a major voice in the city’s demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd. Salau, 19, had gone missing on Saturday, June 6, following a series of tweets in which she described being sexually assaulted that morning. Below is everything we know about her death, which police have ruled a homicide.

Who was Salau?

Oluwatoyin Salau was an emerging leader in Tallahassee’s protests following the death of George Floyd. “We are doing this for our brothers and our sisters who got shot but we are doing this for every black person, because at the end of the day, I cannot take my fucking skin color off,” Salau said in a prominent video shared on Twitter. “I am profiled whether I like it or not.” Salau was also a major advocate calling for justice for Tony McDade, a black transgender man who was shot and killed by Tallahassee police officers on May 29.

“She was a strong, young black female leader to me, and a powerful speaker,” Trish Brown, a founder of the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, told the New York Times. (Salau worked frequently with the organization in recent weeks.) “I feel like something was snatched away from me.”

What happened on Saturday, June 6?

On June 6, Salau, who was home insecure, stated on Twitter that she was sexually assaulted in east Tallahassee by a man who promised her a ride to church, after telling him about a previous incident of sexual assault. While she reportedly told police of the incident, TPD informed her that more evidence would be needed to charge the assailant.

Hours after publishing her account, she went missing. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, she was last seen on surveillance footage on June 10, entering an ice-cream shop around 7 p.m. to use the bathroom. After her disappearance, fellow demonstrators looked for her in their off-time at night.

What do we know about her death?

On Monday, nine days after she went missing, investigators reported that they found Salau’s body on Saturday night around 9 p.m., along with the body of 75-year-old AARP volunteer Victoria Sims in southeast Tallahassee. Sims was reported missing earlier on Saturday. Police have not stated where or how they were killed, or any connection between the two victims.

Police state that they have taken a 49-year-old man, Aaron Glee Jr., into custody, though no other details about his detainment have been released.

What We Know About the Death of Activist Oluwatoyin Salau