What Happened To Mitrice Richardson?
September 29, 2014 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Five years ago this month, African-American lesbian Mitrice Richardson disappeared after being released from Los Angeles County Sheriff custody in Malibu in the middle of the night. A year later, her body was discovered; the initial investigation, was later found to be flawed. In 2011, her parents settled a lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff's Department. Her family maintains a website, Bring Mitrice Justice. A documentary, Lost Compassion, is in progress.
posted by larrybob (13 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I saw a true crime story about Mitrice and the behavior of the police was appalling. They just let her walk out in the middle of the night. Her poor family, so much is left unknown.
posted by sweetkid at 5:09 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

larrybob, you are a treasure.
posted by latkes at 6:30 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

“We have no indication of a homicide at this point. I don’t believe that the remains are capable of telling us a story.”

This is just horrifying. The remains always tell a story. Even though the remains were disturbed, improperly stored, mishandled, and partially abandoned, the remains were still trying to tell the story. But no, ignore evidence of pupae and the clothing distribution. Just forget about science and forensic anthropology! This poor woman and her poor family.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:36 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I could feel my blood pressure rise as I read this story. It's infuriating how cavalier the police are when it comes to the safety and treatment of young women of color.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 6:40 PM on September 29, 2014 [8 favorites]

What a horrifying and terrifying story. I feel so bad for that young woman's family and so angry at the police, who appear to be covering everything up.
posted by xingcat at 6:48 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

County Bear: fucked everywhere.
posted by RakDaddy at 7:58 PM on September 29, 2014

I remember when this happened, and I'm appalled at the way the story played out. Yes, if she had been a blonde white woman this would have gone down in a whole different way. Impossibly sad.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:19 PM on September 29, 2014 [6 favorites]

posted by holyrood at 8:52 PM on September 29, 2014

It's a merry-go-round of sadness and anger made worse by the knowledge that it could possibly happen again.
May justice occur for her family.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:20 PM on September 29, 2014

Last fall Latice visited the spot where her daughter was located in Dark Canyon. Her sister-in-law, a friend, and Koff went, too, all of them equipped with climbing harnesses, ropes, and helmets as LASD’S search-and-rescue experts led the way upstream. As they created a small memorial of plastic flowers, the women found one of Mitrice’s finger bones in the dirt.

Oh. My. God. I lost it. Her poor family.
posted by theweasel at 6:35 AM on September 30, 2014

Just forget about science and forensic anthropology!

What I was told once, by someone who worked in a police crime lab, is that most of the time, the most exhaustive techniques and research techniques are not used because they are prohibitively expensive. That it's really, really expensive to engage in all that, and police departments tend to make the decisions on when to use those resources on the cases they think they're most likely to be able to take to trial, and most likely will be facing, say, high powered attorneys. So in a high-profile murder case, they'd be more likely to use the whole lab array at their disposal, but in a low-profile murder case, where they don't have any clear suspects, they would be most likely to, paradoxically, do the least high-tech detective work, because it's viewed as expensive and unnecessary.

I think I tend to assume stupidity before malice, but I wonder if that would explain the PD's attitude here more than a conspiracy about a murderous deputy. They just don't care that much, and don't want to spend that many resources and time. It's not great or even good, but I don't think it's necessarily evidence of ill intent.
posted by corb at 10:20 AM on October 1, 2014

I get that it's expensive (well, some lab tests-- not all of forensic anthro involves expensive analyses,) but if the timeline given here is correct, they ignored CA's penal code on notifying the coroner's office about human remains, and they moved the body without permission. They did such a poor job of securing the remains that her relatives found a finger bone later. This isn't some kind of fancy labwork, this is literally the basic care you afford to human remains. Even if it isn't "ill intent" it's shocking neglectful.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:19 PM on October 1, 2014

Just to give some broader context: The LASD is currently reeling from a series of scandals including: Hiding an informant on LASD misconduct from the FBI (and threatening an FBI agent in her home over it), assaults of visitors at the jail by staff, that in 2009/2010 two thirds of their new hires either had criminal records or had been disqualified from working at another police department, running an in-prison gang called the '3,000 Boys' that organized fights of inmates in jail and beat an inmate that complained, multiple complaints of assault, rape and wrongful death of citizens who interacted with the LASD, an internal clique called the 'Jump Out Boys' based on the disgraced Rampart gang squad of the LAPD, setting up a "special reserve" of "celebrities" to be sheriffs and having them get caught laundering money…

The LASD has a long, dirty, dirty history of outright corruption, incompetence and malfeasance — to the extent that they're currently making the LAPD look good — which gives the LASD any number of reasons to cover up Mitrice Richardson's murder. Anything from featherbedding for fake overtime to a rapist sheriff is equally plausible.
posted by klangklangston at 4:36 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

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