Minnesota passed a bill (HB 55) to create an office that will investigate cases involving murdered and missing Black women and girls. This will be the nation’s first office to provide the victims’ families with answers and justice.
In collaboration with the Missing and Murdered African American Women Task Force (MMAAW), the new office will review all reports and cases of missing and murdered women and girls. Many can expect cold cases to be investigated and the re-opening of unsolved and closed cases.
Additionally, the new office will review the total number of Amber Alerts issued and the “intersection between cases involving missing and murdered women and girls” and those concerning labor and sex trafficking victims. Additionally, the office will survey how long a case remained open and demographic groups to determine how to prevent or reduce these situations.
The office would collaborate with organizations to “provide services” to protect this crime’s targeted victims, Black women and girls, and work to remove that target.
According to a report from the MMAAW Task Force, Black women only make up 7 percent of the state’s population, yet 40 percent of Minnesota’s domestic violence victims are Black women, who are three times more likely to be murdered than white women.
This statistic can change with the new office, the task force, and other resources.
On June 12, Democratic Rep. Ruth Richardson introduced the bill and said the state’s diverse legislation led to this significant step in providing victims and their families justice.
“Minnesota this year has the largest contingent of legislators of color that it has ever had,” Richardson told NBC. “We all had a story that we could relate to. Families that are in this crisis, and I think it’s just a real recognition of how important representation is.”
Suwana Kirkland, Director of the Dakota County Community Corrections, voted in favor of the bill and said the new office could “bridge” communities, victims and police officers.
“There’s a crisis in our nation around missing and murdered Black women and girls,” she said. “It will establish best practices. It’ll also create that bridge between families and law enforcement and communities around solving these cases.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted about the new change for the state and thanked Minnesota legislators for “taking action to bring our queens home or to bring justice to their families.”
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