Mitrice Richardson Update: 90 Days Later—Now A Homicide Investigation
December 16, 2009 - From Jasmyne Cannick
Okay so last Friday I went with Michael Richardson, Mitrice’s father, to meet with Sheriff Lee Baca in Monterey Park at the Sheriff’s headquarters.
The meeting was…cordial considering this was the first time that Sheriff Baca had met with any member of the Richardson family regarding the disappearance of Mitrice. In the meeting besides myself and Mr. Richardson were Malibu Lost Hills station Captain Tom Martin.
I can’t say that much came out of the meeting. I mean let’s be realistic here, what is Sheriff Baca going to say except for I am sorry about the disappearance of your daughter?
What did come out of the meeting was the determination that the Sheriff’s Department would assign Mitrice’s disappearance to their homicide department. That’s a start, a late one but a start. It was also determined that another search would take place this week. Because of the rainstorm that just came through Southern California, it makes conditions very good to back out to Malibu and search for Mitrice.
When this is all said and done, Mitrice’s disappearance has shown us that there are some holes on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s policies that need to be filled. Namely, the conditions on which people are released after being booked. The policy can’t be one thing at one station and another elsewhere. The policy needs to be changed and it needs to be implemented throughout the Sheriff’s Department. In addition, the policy around jurisdiction needs to be changed as well. What kind of sense did it make to transfer jurisdiction of Mitrice’s disappearance to the LAPD because she lived in Watts, although she disappeared in Malibu? My point exactly. That needs to be changed and it will be once this is all said and done. According to Captain Martin, the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department doesn’t record from any of its video cameras. They are simply used as live cams. If this is true, that needs to be changed as well. What sense does it make to record telephone calls, but not the video of inmates being transferred in and out of the station, what goes on in the lobby of the station, the booking process of arrestees, etc? That just doesn’t seem right to me and if anybody out there knows something different, holla.
From the beginning, this entire situation was handled badly by both the people at Geoffrey’s Restaurant who called the police on her after she failed to pay her bill. Yes—Mitrice was acting strange according to eyewitness accounts, but it wasn’t until she failed to pay her almost $90 bill that they called the police on her and that is what she was arrested for. Well that and some personal use marijuana found in her car. Two offences that didn’t warrant her being arrested and her car being impounded. Had none of that happened, she wouldn’t have been released in the wee hours of the morning by the Sheriff’s to begin with.
Throughout the entire 90 days that Mitrice has been missing, my hats go off to the Richardson family for there perseverance regarding Mitrice. It’s not easy searching for a loved one and coming up against roadblocks at every corner. I am not even related to Mitrice, but can tell you that my frustration caused me to almost have a nervous breakdown—and that’s not an easy thing to do.
What I have learned over the past three months is that some things just don’t matter enough to some people.
I can count on one hand the number of Black elected officials that reached out regarding Mitrice’s disappearance to the Richardson family: Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Councilmembers Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, Carson Councilmember Mike Gipson, Assemblymember Steve Bradford, and Senator Curren Price.
The lack of response from Congressmember Maxine Water regarding helping to get a Federal investigation underway into Mitrice’s disappearance has left me without words. I expect that kind of behavior from other Congressional members in California, but not from her.
I mean even if she was unwilling or unable to do what the family was asking, a return phone call wouldn’t have hurt the situation or future support from the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s, Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement, or California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations. I’m just saying.
Short of Mitrice being seen across state lines, getting a Federal investigation initiated could only happen with the support of a Congressional member, preferably the Congressional Members who represents the missing person.
Given the fact that in Orange County, the Sheriff’s Department has managed to fine several missing persons, both dead and alive, the most recent being the body of missing 21-year-old college baseball player James Wernke, you have to question why Mitrice hasn’t been located…dead or alive. It’s a big WTF in my book. I mean the LAPD and the LASD have some of the smartest people in law enforcement working for them. I agree with the family that an outside agency, namely the FBI needs to get involved in this. It’s been three $%^$##@ months!!!
So that’s it. That’s the latest. Waiting on the search. Waiting on the homicide team to come up with something. Still waiting for Congresswoman Maxine Waters to return a phone call—if not to me at least to eh family. Waiting for any news relating to where Mitrice Richardson is.
Is this the part where I am supposed to say Merry Christmas? Bah humbug.