(CNN) — CNN has obtained new details of the annual anniversary protest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson that sparked national outrage in the summer of 2014. A CNN investigation uncovered documents that show the protest has been used by a street gang leader to finance his operations since the day after the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Two-and-a-half years ago, a video posted online showed protesters rioting and setting fire to a police car in Ferguson. While the protesters were not suspected of any acts of violence, they didn’t stop there. Protesters picked up trash that had been left by the fire and began throwing it on fire. Days later, video showed police firing tear gas into the crowd, and a few members of the crowd began throwing Molotov cocktails at officers. Eventually, 17 officers were injured and 22 people were arrested.
Despite the protests, the St. Louis County Police Department, which then led the investigation into the shooting, said that Brown’s death didn’t provoke the violent response.
Now, a CNN investigation has uncovered documents that show the protesters also organized as part of a street gang called the Gangster Disciples. The documents show that the leaders of the gang bankrolled the annual protest, and that one street gang leader who is listed in the documents — Marvin Haskins — has been terrorizing his own fellow Gangster Disciples by forcing members to participate in civil disobedience, organizing protests and working as a driver for the protest organization.
The gang leader’s Organized Group of Friends website lists Haskins as president and listed him as the group’s confidential informant.
The documents CNN obtained show that the organization raised $159,898 in donations between July 1, 2014, and April 1, 2015.
In August 2014, at least 13 people from the Gangster Disciples were arrested after staging a protest, and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said the protesters “absolutely terrorized” people living in Ferguson and St. Louis County.
Haskins was arrested along with five other Gangster Disciples in October 2014 on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery. In court documents, Haskins admitted to being part of the gang and to being an informant in both criminal cases. Haskins is now serving time in the St. Louis County jail on $250,000 bond.
CNN requested comment from Haskins through his attorney, and he denied CNN’s request for comment.
Though Haskins’ criminal history is well known, the documents CNN uncovered show that Haskins has been involved in some of the most controversial events in St. Louis.
For example, the incident at a July 2014 rally in support of Brown is considered one of the most violent since his death. In that instance, a gang member was shot in the thigh, and four people were arrested. Two of the suspects were reportedly members of the Gangster Disciples.
Another document CNN obtained shows Haskins organizing the July 1, 2015, protest for Brown.
On July 1, 2015, the main organizer of the protest, Jay Bonafede, confirmed to CNN that Haskins is one of the organizers.
According to Bonafede, Haskins is an organizer of the Black-Or-White Civil Rights March, which he says has been a civil rights demonstration every year since 1980.
Haskins served in the army from 1988 to 1991, and an April 28, 1986, document on the Organized Group of Friends website indicates that Haskins was convicted for Assault at Military Base and Discharge from Post. His most recent criminal charge was in 2002 for communicating threats. Haskins was placed on probation at the time, and he has paid child support ever since, according to the documents.
An April 12, 2018, arrest affidavit filed in the case shows that Haskins attempted to contact an undercover officer and was caught when he tried to purchase 10 grams of marijuana. In response, he ran from the officers and was taken into custody.
In a recorded phone call, Bonafede said he was concerned the leader of the Black-Or-White Civil Rights March was responsible for the shooting at the annual rally in August 2014. Bonafede wrote on Facebook in response to CNN’s questions about Haskins’ involvement in the protests, “I am assured that he has no affiliation with any criminal organizations.”
Though Bonafede said he worked closely with Haskins, the documents CNN obtained show that Haskins had already been a member of the Gangster Disciples since the age of 13. Bonafede, himself a member of the Gangster Disciples, told CNN that he and Haskins both attended Mount Olive Baptist Church in Ferguson.
The church’s pastor, Donny Powell, told CNN he was not aware that Haskins was involved in the activities documented in the new