8 Months and Still No Answers in Finding Mitrice
By Jasmyne A. Cannick
Maybe we've been going about this all wrong. Maybe it's not the FBI that needs to get involved in finding Mitrice Richardson. It seems to me that their expertise and resources deliver better results when the victim is a white female rather a Black one.
No, it seems to me these days that the best government entity to track down the whereabouts of Black females, regardless of age, income, sexual orientation, or location, is the U.S. Census and those pesky nosy but diligent census workers who will find you even if you don't want to be found.
I say that because it's been nearly 8 months to the day that then 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson, who is now 25, went missing after being arrested, detained and allegedly released by the Lost Hills-Malibu Sheriffs Department. I say allegedly because although there have been reported sightings of her, including one just hours after the Sheriff's claimed to have released her, none have led to any new information into her whereabouts. The Sheriffs themselves can't even produce any tangible evidence proving that they even released her.
Today, nearly 8 months later, we know the same thing we knew back on September 17 when she went missing. She went to Geoffrey's Restaurant in Malibu, where the police were called after she failed to pay for her $89.51 bill. Her car was then searched and personal use marijuana was discovered. An amount of marijuana, I might add, that is less than the amount Californians will be asked to vote on in the upcoming election. Her car was impounded, she was arrested and taken into custody. Her purse, wallet, and cell phone were taken from her and then she was released at 12:38 a.m. the next morning never to be heard from again.
And in the nearly 8 months that's she been missing, two white girls were found within days of each other in San Diego County, murdered, but found. Mourned, buried, exhausted and sensationalized in national and international media coverage, and now forever memorialized in proposed state law. They may be dead but the families of those two white girls are making sure that their daughters will never be forgotten.
Which got me to thinking where we'd be in the search for Mitrice if she'd have been white and from an affluent family and community? Would the Sheriff's Department have produced a video showing her exiting the station? Would unmanned drones have been sent in to look her right away instead of seven months later? Would Mitrice's Congressional representative have demanded the FBI get involved in finding her? Probably not. If Mitrice had been white, let's face it, the probability of her being arrested in the first place would have drastically lowered in her favor-even if she didn't have the money to pay her bill.
But it is what it is, and what it is nearly 8 months later and a family still has no answers or clues into their daughter's whereabouts. All they can do is a have a birthday party without the guest of honor as a reminder that while she's gone, she's never forgotten.
Black people wake up. This is not their problem, their daughter or their fight. This is our problem, our daughter and our fight. There is no justification for our deafening silence on the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson at the hands of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The sooner we realize this, get up off our asses, and take to the streets like we did over the Nazi protest downtown, the sooner this family will get the answers they need regarding Mitrice. It's as simple as that. If we can go out of our way to speak at an immigration rally downtown, surely we can do the same for our own people.
When it comes to finding missing Black people-who haven't committed a crime-the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Until we put the pressure on the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department and their counterparts and the Los Angeles Police Department-and if need be every Black elected official in the county-we'll see another 8 months of feigned good intentions and lip service from the powers that be in the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson. And remember-today it's Mitrice-tomorrow it could be you or your daughter.
In the meantime, I need to find some of those Census workers and get them on the case...
Jasmyne CannickÂ Â nÂ writes about the intersection of politics, religion, and culture in the Black community. She can be reached at www.jasmynecannick.com.