Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mitrice Richardson Still Missing, Police Say They Followed Procedure

According to Malibu Surfside News, the Sheriff's Department over Lost Hills, Ca., has released its investigative report on Mitrice Richardson's disappearance, which clears them of any wrong doing. They say releasing the young black woman in the wee hours of the morning with no phone and possibly no I.D. on September 17 was by the book.

I wrote about this young woman's case for BlogHer on October 1 as "The Mysterious Case of Mitrice Richardson Missing." Change.org has a petition you can join demanding a Federal investigation in to her disappearance.
To: Eric Holder, Esq. (US Attorney General), Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Attorney General) and Mark Ridley Thomas (Los Angeles 2nd District Supervisor), see more...
Started by: Nancy Lockhart

Mitrice Richardson is a college graduate from California State University of Fullerton, in Psychology, with a 4.00 GPA. Mitrice Richardson has begun the process of acceptance into the Psychology Professional College, Alliant, to pursue her Ph.D. as a Clinical Psychologist, she also happens to be African American and openly gay.
On September 16, 2009, Mitrice Richardson was booked into custody after 10:00 pm, and then released shortly after 12:38am.

Mitrice Richardson had no money, food, water, identification or cell phone and was released to wander in a desolate area of canyons and wildlife which were foreign to her, she was obviously in a depressed state of mind. Mitrice is an African American female and is openly gay, she is loved and supported by her family and friends. Mitrice Richardson is in a crisis and is in danger, support is needed to find her. We are asking for a federal investigation into the whereabouts of Mitrice Richardson to bring her home as well as, to ensure that this does not happen to additional persons. (From Petition)
I've signed the petition. I don't care what the Malibu Sheriff's Department says about its procedures, they treated Mitrice Richardson inhumanely, and now they've absolved themselves after investigating themselves. I can't believe any police officer/sheriff would have approved if one of their own daughters had been released into the darkness of a remote area after midnight with no car, phone, food, water, money or I.D.

The Los Angeles Sheriff Department continues to claim the jail was overcrowded but some evidence has indicated otherwise. Furthermore, The Sheriff's Department still refuses to release the videotape showing Mitrice treatment in the Lost Hills jail.
Sheriff Lee Baca reported to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Monday that although the Mitrice Richardson missing person’s case is in his words “unusual and unfortunate...the [sheriff’s] department’s release policy and procedures are consistent with state law, and our investigation revealed all applicable laws, policies and procedures were followed.”

Richardson mysteriously disappeared after release from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station on Sept. 17 and has not been heard from for close to nine weeks, despite extensive field searches and a concerted effort by her family to keep the missing 24-year-old’s story in the public eye.

Baca’s four-page report was requested by the board last month when the supervisors announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to Richardson’s whereabouts. He concludes that “the department did not identify any areas requiring modification.”

... Richardson’s mother Latice Sutton said she is “very upset by the report” and told the Malibu Surfside News: “It is unfortunate that the LASD deemed releasing anyone from their facility knowing that they had no transportation, form of communication or money as ‘prudent, reasonable and safe,’ particularly someone who they knew was behaving in a manner that warranted an evaluation by a qualified professional. Further the amount of time and manpower that it took to generate their erroneous report takes away valuable time in the search for my daughter.”(Read more at Malibu Surfside News.)
The article also indicates that the LAPD, which is in charge of the case now since Richardson is a Los Angeles citizen, may not be returning phone calls on progress of its investigation into her disappearance.

Jasmyne A. Cannick, a Los Angeles columnist, has an opinion piece up at EURweb wondering why more black people aren't outraged over Richardson's treatment. She's sending readers to another website, BringMitriceHome, which has calls for action and links to a Twitter page and Facebook page.

This story angered me when I first wrote about it and today I continue to fume.

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