U.S. Representative Maxine Waters asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the disappearance of 25-year-old lesbian Mitrice Richardson, who has been missing since September.
Waters' letter comes after the FBI declined a similar request because it was against their policy to investigate adult missing persons cases. Waters told the Justice Department in a letter that Richardson's civil rights were violated by the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station staff when they released her while she was so vulnerable. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca says he welcomes a Department of Justice or any other agency investigation.
One night at Malibu, Calif. restaurant, she was unable to pay a bill, for which she was arrested. She was eventually released from the station in Calabasas, a remote area with little public transportation, at approximately 12:30 a.m. without a phone, money, identification, or her car, which was impounded that night. Evidence has since indicated that Richardson was suffering from untreated bipolar disorder although the sheriff's department maintains that she was rational and spokesman Steve Whitmore confirms that policy was followed.
"People with disabilities, including mental disabilities, are a protected class in this country," Waters wrote. "It appears the Malibu/Lost Hills Sherriff's Department failed to follow its own policies, which state that individuals with mental disabilities are to be released into the care of family, friends, or medical professionals. I believe that the Justice Department is the best equipped agency to handle this investigation, and I will continue to work with the appropriate officials to help the family of Mitrice Richardson."
The last who are known to have seen Richardson were residents near the sheriff's station who later that night called police after seeing a woman matching her description sitting on porches and wandering around.