Black members of Congress are calling for the Justice Department to help police investigate the massive number of missing children, mostly Black and Latino, in Washington, D.C. Amongst those missing is Yahshaiyah Enoch and Aniya McNeil, both 13; Juliana Otero, Jacqueline Lassey, Dashann Trikia Wallace, Dayana White and Morgan Richardson, all 15; and Talisha Coles, 16.
According to The Associate Press, Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District in Congress sent a letter on Tuesday asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey for help locating the city’s lost youth.
“Ten children of color went missing in our nation’s capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That’s deeply disturbing,” Richmond and Norton wrote.
In addition, they called for DOJ and FBI to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.”
Richards said that Sessions has yet to reply to their email and as of now no meeting between the two has been set up. But during a recent sit down at The White House, Trump did reassure the Congressional Black Caucus that he would make his Cabinet secretaries available to them, the AP noted.
Calls for the FBI to get involved have been circling all week as increased media outlets reported on this disturbing story. Even comedian DL Hughley helped set off the conversation when he sent a tweet earlier this week wondering why the FBI could find quarterback Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey, but not any of the vulnerable girls.
Despite the influx of media attention and community outrage, D.C. officials have said on record that the number of missing teens isn’t all that unusual this year. While social media is ringing the alarm on the issue, police stress that there is no increase in teens going missing in the District.
D.C. Police Youth and Family Services Commander, Chanel Dickerson told a Fox News DC affiliate that this “is a critical issue, however, the teens have not just vanished.”
“I’m not trying to minimize that other people aren’t missing, but they looked like me and so I just wanted to make sure that every investigation focused on every child same way and we get the same exposure to everyone regardless of your race or where you live,” he added.
According to local data, the number of missing children dropped from 2,433 in 2015 to 2,242 in 2016. Not to mention that in the first three months of 2017 there were 501 logged cases of missing juveniles; and there are now only 22 cases that are unsolved says The AP.
But even if there are 22 unsolved cases of missing teens, isn’t that 22 too many?