The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released twenty four year old Mitrice Richardson at an ungodly hour in the middle of the night from a remote substation. The young black woman, an executive assistant and lived with her grandmother in Los Angeles, was arrested on September 17th from an upscale restaurant in Malibu, about forty miles from her home, when she was presented with the eighty nine dollar check and couldn’t pay. The restaurant staff said she was behaving. They claim that at one point she sat at a table of six other restaurant patrons and engaged them in conversation. That’s really odd because we know people never bother to try and meet other people. And by odd behavior the staff must have been referring to the fact that she was broke. That’s certainly odd to see in a Malibu upscale restaurant. The restaurant manager had to call the police.
When the police arrived, they searched Ms. Richardson’s car and impounded it after finding a small amount of marijuana. Ms. Richardson was arrested for possession of marijuana and not paying her bill. The police took her thirteen miles away to the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff’s station. Her car remained at the restaurant. The young woman was then released at about one o’clock in the morning, without a cell phone or her car, on her own recognizance. She had no transportation and no way to communicate with her family. That was the last time anyone actually heard or saw of her.
Now, more than a week later, the police are still trying to find her. There have been few leads in her disappearance. One resident in a neighborhood several miles away from the sheriff’s station reported seeing a woman meeting Ms. Richardson’s description sleeping on a porch that morning, but nothing else. Ms. Richardson’s parents, along with their lawyer, accuse the police Friday of inconsistencies in their reports and say that Ms. Richardson should never have been released into the middle of the night so helpless. The police created an unsafe situation and handed Ms. Richardson to someone who may have done her harm on a silver platter. The police told the parents that they didn’t operate a baby-sitting service. Police also claimed that there was no room to keep the woman at the jail. But a check of police records show that there was only one other prisoner at the jail that day between 1:30 a.m. and that afternoon. What gives?
According to a statement by Captain Thomas Martin, most of the news stories have focused on her release from custody so early in the morning. But he wants the people to know that the Sheriff’s Station personnel acted appropriately and legally during the entire event. He claims his deputies acted compassionately and did their best to find someone to pay Ms. Richardson’s bill at Geoffrey’s, the restaurant, in an attempt to avoid an arrest. Although her family offered to pay the restaurant over the phone, the restaurant said that they couldn’t process phone call charges. So I guess we’re supposed to believe that the police searched Ms. Richardson’s car thinking they might find the eighty nine dollars in the back seat cushions or something. According to Mr. Martin, when the deputies didn’t find the funds, she was placed under a citizens arrest by the restaurant management and brought to the station for booking.
Mr. Martin went on to say that while Ms. Richardson was at the station, she was allowed to use the phone to call someone to pick her up. When she was unable to find a ride home, she was afforded the opportunity to remain in our custody until morning and leave at her convenience. When she declined, she was offered the lobby for her use all night, but she declined. Once she was processed and found to have no wants or warrants they could no longer legally detain the young black woman for the two pending misdemeanor charges. Mr. Martin says that he has thoroughly examined this incident and found his personnel acted professionally, compassionately, and within the law. But he prays that Ms. Richardson will be found safe and sound.
I find it difficult to believe that the police acted with compassion or professionalism to a black woman acting strangely in one of their posh Malibu restaurants in a predominantly white area by engaging other patrons in conversation. My experience has been that a black person in a predominantly white area is seen as a nothing but trouble. A black person better make sure he or she has their Ts crossed and Is dotted, Xs slashed and Os closed if they want to avoid trouble. The last thing that black people can count on is compassion from the authorities. We’re supposed to believe that the treatment given to Ms. Richardson is some exception to the norm.
So this morning I turn on the news and I don’t hear a peep about the disappearance of Ms. Richardson even though she disappeared over a week ago. What I did hear was more news about the formerly missing Yale student Annie Le. Even though her body was found inside one of the basement walls of the medical building she worked in days ago, she still manages to garner public attention.
The only way I found out about Ms. Richardson is a hookup from Dark Frosty, a visitor to my blog who sent me to Monie on the Outside. Obviously Ms. Richardson’s story just doesn’t meet the minimum standard necessary to become a national sensation for some reason. The compassion that the deputies of Malibu are supposed to have just isn’t reflected in our national community. A missing black woman just doesn’t pique our interests. It appears that if the black community wants to get the word out about this young black woman we are going to have to do it ourselves.