It's about our community and our spirituality!

Mitrice Richardson Is Just Another Missing Black Woman


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 oddly. 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.

MitriceRichardson3When 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.

MitriceRichardson2Mr. 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.

AnnieLeSo 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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. This is a terrible story first of all. We must really question how the police handled the situation, and also how the restaurant handled it. Even if she had decided that she was going to eat a fine meal and try to skip out on the bill, this is not how to resolve the situation. What if the restaurant had agreed to take her IOU? Maybe she’d come back gratefully and spend even more next time. It’s a possibility they might have considered. But they obviously didn’t want to keep her as a potential customer.

    While I can’t believe we really wanted the media spectacle that developed around the Annie Le case, this case probably deserves a bit more coverage. A Google search on Mitrice shows local coverage on NBC and CBS and, of course, the LA Sentinel, and while the details differ slightly, the essence of the story is the same and the woman is still missing.

    Comment by Bettina Hansel | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bettina Hansel,

    Please be aware that I am by no means diminishing the lost of Ms. Le. The young lady appears to have had a lot going for her and her murder is another one of our senseless crimes. I was merely using the way people responded to Ms. Le’s disappearance as a comparison to the way people responded to Ms. Richardson’s disappearance. Indeed, it looks like the police may have been a major contributor to Ms. Richardson’s disappearance. It is a sad commentary on our community when there is such obvious disparity that coincidentally happens to fall along racial lines.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Reply

  3. Brotherpeacemaker,

    Thanks for posting about Matrice. Each post about her helps her get more attention which is what this case needs now.

    I linked to your post on my blog.

    Comment by Monie | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks for this info BP, I will be posting this story on my site as well. I think all of us that have sites should be blowing this story up. I will certainly be driving this out today

    Comment by EnSayn | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Reply

  5. Frozen in Time.

    People of color. If I’m not mistaken, that would include everyone on Gods green earth. To what do we owe the privilage of living in a world without color. To a world that grants respect to it’s fellow man. To a world where every man, woman and child bleeds the same color in a colorless world.

    May GOD have pity on the soles of the men and women who committed this heinous act. We must tell the story to all that will here and make those here who don’t want to here. It is my prayer that this beautiful woman of color returns home safe to the loving arms that await.

    Comment by Chadwick L. Williams | Monday, September 28, 2009 | Reply

  6. why was her photo given to a white lawyer to publish and the black lawyer resused one. i wonder if that lady ever left the sattion alive and why are there no videos of her leaving??? has the black lawyer and her family been given her car also i would bet that there were NO drugs in her car that is all made up in my opinopn and i cannot pull up the find mitrice web sitethank you.

    Comment by a.morgan | Monday, September 28, 2009 | Reply

  7. Federal Investigation Requested In Mitrice Richardson’s Disappearance From Lost Hills, Ca. Jail

    Please Join Letter/Petition Campaign

    Comment by Nancy | Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Reply

  8. If the police had detained her against her will for safety reasons we would be hearing from jesse jackson about violating the right of black americans women. The national media needs to get the word out and the police and fbi need to find this young american woman asap, regardless of her race.

    Comment by betier | Monday, November 2, 2009 | Reply

  9. Thanks for the feedback betier,

    But is it just me or does the racially generic dominant community that is predominantly white just have a natural inclination to think that Jesse Jackson lurks around every corner ready to pounce when white people do wrong? Look at it this way, if Mr. Jackson is so ready to pounce when white people do wrong where is he now that Ms. Richardson is missing? Besides, police violate black people’s rights every day, every hour, and every minute. It’s not like the police sit around their desk, scared to do anything because Jesse Jackson might show up. This is just more evidence of people’s contempt for the black community.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, November 2, 2009 | Reply

  10. The deplorable way in which the media ignores kidnapped/missing Black women and children is beyond sickening. Mitrice came across as so sweet in the pageant videos I saw. Perhaps a guy at the restarant slipped something into her drink; at any rate, she was clearly having a mental breakdown and needed help. The cops acknowledge that she was behaving oddly; yet, they claim to have releashed her into the dark of night without transportation nor her cell phone. No woman should be treated in such a heartless manner; the fact that she was unstable made it even more dangerous. If she were white, the cops would have driven her back to her car or given her a ride home. Why did the cops even search her car in the first place? Plus, it’s pathetic that an “upscale” restaurant claimed not to be able to accept credit card payment over the phone when Domino’s does it everyday!
    The disingenuous white folks who pretend the cops were worried about Jackson speaking out against this young lady being held are closet or sub-conscious racists. Moreover, a sad fact is that Jackson and most other Black male “leaders” only spring into full-mode when a Black man is violated. The sexism has to end.

    Comment by whirlwind | Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Reply

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