Jasmyne Cannick on EURweb.com: “Time to Nut Up or Shut Up” About Mitrice Richardson

(This is the last of four videos of a prayer service for Mitrice Richardson held on October 10, at the New Testament Church in Los Angeles.)

In case you missed it, Jasmyne Cannick unloaded on Electronic Urban Report this week about all the issues: police  footdragging, stonewalling, the constant rewriting and changing of the story and even the police report, etc.,  involved in the as yet unsolved case of the missing 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson.

So just who is Jasmyne Cannick?

Based in Los Angeles, CA, Jasmyne A. Cannick is a well known and respected public policy and communications professional with a successful track record in the areas of public policy, issue and campaign strategies. Jasmyne has used her experience working for office holders on all three levels of government to assist underserved and vulnerable population groups. From working in Washington D.C. in the House of Representative to her work California’s State Legislature, where she worked closely with the Legislative Black Caucus, Jasmyne continues to blend her political and media savvy together in working to assist African-American candidates into elected office. She currently serves as the Director of Public Affairs for a firm in Los Angeles and works on local and state candidate and issue campaigns.

When not working, Jasmyne is known nationally as a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the intersection of pop culture, race, class, and politics as played out in the African-American community. An award-winning freelance journalist who works in politics, Jasmyne was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and is a frequent voice on National Public Radio. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Ebony Magazine, and she writes a syndicated column that appears in Black newspapers from coast to coast.

Jasmyne co-founded the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s Black gay civil rights group. In addition, she is the former co-chair of the National Stonewall Democrats Black Caucus and a current member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2008, Jasmyne and Eric “Lil Eazy E” Wright Jr. formed My Hood Votes, a voter registration and education initiative involving a grassroots education and mobilization campaign designed to engage non-traditional voters in underserved Black neighborhoods.

To wit, Cannick says it’s time to “nut up or shut up” about Mitrice Richardson, and asks each and every black person who is concerned to get cracking to get answers. It’s time to really put on the pressure. And they ain’t seen nothing yet.

On any other occasion, had the Los Angeles Police Department arrested and booked a young Black female and then let her go in the middle of the night without her purse, car, or cell phone, in the middle of nowhere never to be seen again-Black people would be screaming “off with their heads.”

We’d probably be ready to burn down police headquarters if the same law enforcement agency then took its sweet ass time in providing a police report-a police report that was clearly altered and amended-that would normally take 24 hours to secure and refused to provide video of the young Black female either entering or leaving the police station-only to tell the media 8 weeks later, that a tape doesn’t exist.

So then can someone please tell me why the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department continues to get a pass for the mishandling and mistreatment of 24-year-old missing Mitrice Richardson?

The facts in the case are simple. On the evening of September 16 Mitrice Richardson was in Malibu at a restaurant. A call was made to the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff’s station that she was acting “crazy” and couldn’t pay her bill. The sheriff’s searched her car and found some marijuana for personal use and arrested her. She was allegedly released from the sheriff’s station a little after midnight on September 17 without her car, purse, or cell phone never to be heard from again.

In the past 55 days since Mitrice was last seen, the family has repeatedly made attempts to secure any video proving that Mitrice actually left the sheriff’s station. Because quite frankly, it’s just the sheriff’s word that Mitrice left the station and I’ve watched enough “Law & Order” to know that the first suspect is always the last person known to be with the victim. In this case, that would be the Malibu-Lost Hill’s Sheriff’s Department.

Now if I were Sheriff Lee Baca, agenda item number one would be clearing my deputies of any wrong doing. So if that meant furnishing the videotape of Mitrice entering and/or exiting the Malibu-Lost Hill’s Sheriff’s station, well then so be it. If the video in question didn’t exist, what I wouldn’t do is string along the family for weeks allowing them to think there was a video. And I certainly wouldn’t let the news of there being no video appear in a small Malibu newspaper before telling the family. But that’s exactly what the sheriff’s did.

So here we are nearly two months later and there are more questions than answers as it relates to the disappearance of the Cal State Fullerton graduate who lived in Watts with her great-grandmother. And yet nothing from a community that normally looks for police brutality and mistreatment in the same way our Mayor looks for news cameras- on a daily basis 24/7.

There’s been no outcry from the NAACP, SCLC, Urban League, or other community advocate organizations that we typically see and here from in the media when an injustice has been committed against African-Americans. And I find myself asking why?

I mean if there was ever a clear case of police misconduct all wrapped up with a bow on it just waiting to be exposed, the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson is it. This is a case that went from Mitrice being released because the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff’s station was overcrowded to her being released because there was no reason to hold her after it was proven that the jail was nowhere near being overcrowded.

I would hate to think that our collective silence has to do with the fact that Mitrice is a young Black female or that because she is a lesbian, her disappearance is somehow not important or related to Black people. This is a young lady who was doing everything right. A college graduate on her way to becoming a substitute teacher.  A clean record.  She is just 24-years-old.  24.

As the holiday season approaches the Richardsons carry the burden of keeping the torch lit in the search for Mitrice. A torch that is often dimmed when compared to other local and national news stories. Plainly put-the family needs the support of the collective community to call attention to this injustice.

Mitrice Richardson is our Jaycee Dugard. Similar to the way in which California’s parole officers failed Jaycee Dugard, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs failed Mitrice Richardson and are continuing to hamper efforts to find her and answer questions about her disappearance.

Mitrice could have been your daughter, sister, aunt, mother, or friend. If the sheriff’s did this to Mitrice, imagine who else they’ve done this to and will do it to unless policies are changed and attention is called to Mitrice Richardson’s disappearance….

How to Nut Up (according to Ms. Cannick)

And if you have any other ideas, bring them forward and spread them around.

  1. Visit www.bringmitricehome.org and download flyers to put up at your job, nail shop, carwash, and anywhere else you think people will see it.
  2. Sign up to receive Twitter updates from the Richardson family directly on the situation.
  3. Join the Find Mitrice Facebook fan page.
  4. Add “For the latest information on Mitrice Richardson log onto http://www.bringmitricehome.org” to your email signature.
  5. Sign the petition calling for a Federal Investigation into the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s handling of Mitrice Richardson.
  6. Email the website to your address book and ask others to do so.

~ by blksista on November 13, 2009.

One Response to “Jasmyne Cannick on EURweb.com: “Time to Nut Up or Shut Up” About Mitrice Richardson”

  1. yes, this is a scary situation. Mitrice was obviously unstable, as the eyewitnesses said that when she unexpectedly sat down at an adjacent table, she was speaking “jibberish” and saying that she was an “alien” from outer space. Clearly an emotional or mental issue that needed immediate response from health professionals.


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