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Monday
Aug012011

Their Names Were NOT Caylee - Romona Moore Legal Defense Fund

By now all of you are familiar with the name Casey Anthony. While most of Black Twitter and Nancy Grace appeared to be obsessed with her trial for the murder of her daughter, Caylee, you might have missed the following names

Tonia Carmichael

Nancy Cobbs

Tishana Culver

Crystal Dozier

Telacia Fortson

Amelda Hunter

Leshanda Long

Michelle Mason

Kim Smith

Janice Webb

Diane Turner

These were all Black women who were killed by one madman in Cleveland, OH in the most horrific ways imaginable.  Equally horrifying was that he was so brazen that be didn't bother to bury most of their bodies and what's horrifying is that the community these women lived in didn't bother to look for them.

Their body parts in many cases were left out in the open to rot inside the killer's house and the stench of their decaying bodies filled the air of the neighbohood, but even in the stench of death, the neighbohood around them kept moving along and the police didn't bother to look for these women. All were Black. In some cases, the women weren't even reported missing.

Some might console yourselves with the idea that this couldn't happen to you. You couldn't go missing without someone looking for you. Your family would raise Hell. But what if you or someone you loved did go missing and the police department told you to get lost? What if your family decided to publicize your disappearance, and the police department intervened and told reporters not to cover your disappearance? What if someone saw you while you were barely alive, yet stillin captivity, and then walked away from you and went to a baby shower and left you to die?  Couldn't happen to you?

Well that's what happened to Romona Moore, a straight-A Psychology student who attended Hunter College.

By 9 a.m. that morning, April 25, it was too much worry for the mother to stand. She called 911, and 30 minutes later, two officers from the 67th Precinct arrived at her Remsen Avenue home. As she remembers it, they told her: "She's 21. We're not supposed to take the report." She begged them, and (out of pity, she believes) the officers took complaint No. 2003-067-65609.

They told Carmichael that if Romona still hadn't returned by seven that night, marking her gone for 24 hours, she should call the precinct. At seven on the dot, Carmichael called the precinct. A detective told her: "Lady, why are you calling here? Your daughter is 21. These officers should not have taken the report in the first place." The next day, April 26, the complaint was marked "closed." Village Voice

A few weeks prior, the NYPD had spared no expense to look for Svetlana Aronov.

 

The day after Aronov vanished, police launched a massive search for her and the cocker spaniel, Bim, she had taken for a walk. The NYPD called a press conference, assigned two dozen detectives to the case full-time, and went door to door, passing out flyers with pictures of Aronov and Bim on them. The cops traced the Aronovs' phone and bank records and analyzed surveillance tape gathered from stores and apartment buildings near her home. A police van emblazoned with the department's 800 tip-line number drove around her neighborhood, blaring details of her disappearance over a loudspeaker. A letter was sent to rare-books dealers, a business the Aronovs dabbled in. Detectives reportedly even consulted a psychic. Village Voice

Mean while her killers were doing absolutely NOTHING to hide Romona Moore. In fact, they put her on display mere blocks from her home:

It wasn't as if the killers were in deep hiding. They not only were into kidnapping, rape, and torture, but they even gave tours of their den of horrors.

Romando Jack, then 19, was the last known person, other than her killers, to see Romona Moore alive, though authorities now believe that the killers also showed her off to others. Village Voice

If this were like all of the other horrific crime stories that we've covered over the years, you would rant an rave about the unequitable treatment. We would whine and complain about Nancy Grace, the police, the Black Elite Establishment, and mourn the fact that the lives of Black women and girls aren't valued in this country.

But Romona Moore's case didn't end with the conviction of her killers. Her mother didn't just call out the NYPD for failing to investigate Romona's dissappearance and working to undermine efforts to publicize her case, she sued them in federal court. Despite the legal odds being against her, Romona's mother made it past the first legal burden, a federal judge gave the goahead for her to move forward against the NYPD for the "practice of not making a prompt investigation of missing-persons claims of African-Americans, while making a prompt investigation for white individuals."

She's suing the NYPD for racial bias in their unwillingness to invesitgate her daughter's disappearance and she's doing it by herself. Romona's relatives have set up the Romona Moore Legal Defense Fund.  i spoke with her cousin Shawndell Terry over the last few weeks and in addition to being able to send donations via check or wire transfer (the account is at Bank of America) you can now donate online.  Shawndell set up a ChipIn widget which you can find in our sidebar to the right of this post.

In addition, I made two flyers that you can pass around to folks who don't read blog. One is a one-sheet poster.  The other is a brochure that you can have printed front and back.

So while I'm on blogcation, I hope you'll contribute generously to the Romona Moore Legal Defense Fund.  If Romona's mother wins, it will be a victory for Black victims of crime everywhere. But even if she doesn't win, you gotta admire her willingness to fight for her daughter.

You can send donations to
 

The Romona Moore Legal Defense Fund 
Donate via wire transfer at any Bank of America location.
P.O Box 60884 
Rochester, NY 14606
OR

LINKS:

Romona Moore Legal Defense Fund

Romona Moore Flyers and Blog Badges

Romona Moore Legal Defense Fund Facebook Fan Page

Reader Comments (18)

I remember reading this story when it first came out in the Village Voice. I was literally sick to my stomach and had nightmares. I have to confess that I even called the phone number of the creep who saw her alive and left to go to a baby shower without reporting seeing her to the police. He lives (or used to live) right here in Silver Spring Maryland.

Glad to see that the Mother is still fighting the good fight and will definitely give what I can to the effort. Thanks Gina for having the guts to post about these nightmarish stories.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Kayden

I remember this story when it came out. However, Nancy Grace did cover it. I remember she had a reporter on who was covering the murder and she asked the reporter point blank. "Did the newspapers not cover this because Ramona was black?"

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva

@Eva

I remember that too. I almost fell off the couch in shock when Nancy said that. She earned a few cool points for that one.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

I'm not a big Nancy Grace fan, but I will give her credit for stating the obvious. As a parent, my heart goes out to any other parent whose child goes missing, but I can't lie and say that it doesn't piss me off that white women can get all kinds of coverage and what not when they go missing, but black women don't get anywhere near the same treatment. Hell, I swear I saw something on my cable guide the other day about some special on Natalee Holloway. Are they still bringing her up????

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Sniper

I remember hearing about Ramona's murder a while ago but had no idea about her mother's legal fight. Thanks for sharing this story and the defense fund info. Instead of purchasing something I was planning to buy today (and spending more money on something that I don't truly need) I will contribute to her fund. I hope you enjoy a restful blogcation.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

Jesus, this story still brings tears to my eyes. I have three black daughters, my husband and I would move mountains if any one of them ever went missing. Our families would go crazy. We'd canvas, we'd be on the tail of every law enforcement agency we knew of. And at the end of the day we could still face the same thing Ms. Moore did. No amount of money or being married or living far from the ghetto can turn black women into women that matter to society at large. It is going to take high profile cases like this and cities and states being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars and losing. Law enforcement will have to face the threat of humiliation, bankruptcy and lawsuits. This is the only thing people respond to when it comes to black women which is why "stop funding foolishness" makes so much sense. They must be dragged through the mud and threatened with their livelihoods before they give a damn.

I have donated to the fund and will hopefully be able to donate more in the next few weeks.

God bless this mother! I will be watching the case. As a born and bred New Yorker I am not surprised. NYC is just as racist as the south

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReese

THANK YOU, for this information. I had never heard this young lady's story. How sad. I follow true crime, even following cases for literally YEARS until legal resolution. Had I known of this case, it would have been one that I followed. I am proud of her mother for moving forward against the police department. And, I will CERTAINLY make a financial contribution.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFormavitae

When I heard Romona's mother on Air America a few years ago (I think it was in 2008) she also said that she wanted to change the law because if a child is 21 they are not considered a child. Romona had two strikes against her, she was black and she was young. My friend's mom went missing in Penn Station, she went to the police and they searched immediately and found her unharmed in Harlem a few hours later (my friend and her mom are both black). Her mom however was 90 years old which is probably why they looked harder (elderly people are a HUGE voting lobby).

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva

Thanks to all of you for your generous donations and spreading the word about Romona’s story. The response this week has been overwhelming! So far we have raised $660 in online donations and we couldn't have done it without you. Romona’s story has touched so many people and I am positive that this case we will bring forth a much needed change in police practices and procedures! Your kindness and support is sincerely appreciated! Thanks Again!

August 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawndell

What a terrible story. And what's even sadder is the sheer number of cases like this with regards to us as aa women. You can definitely count on my financial support.

August 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersisterlocgirl

I think that what a lot of black folks, particularly women, don't realize is that this could happen to any black person. Wrong place, wrong time. Then what? I experienced a situation where I was assaulted by an animal without provocation at a business, and the white police officers who reported to the scene refused to even do an official report and get the animal's name. They treated me like I was the one in the wrong. I can totally relate to the frustration of dealing with the NYPD in particular.

We have to fight back against these injustices, that is the only way anyone will care. If you're wronged by the police, SUE THE POLICE or at the very least, file a complaint against them. TAKE ACTION. They need to know that they can't disregard black women and just get away with it.

We also need more organizations dedicated to the plights specifically of black women--the current organizations in existence are a joke.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjudy

We all know that we would move mountains to help our own children when they are in trouble. What really counts is when we would gather in support and move mountains for others' children, children we don't even know, people, families that we dont know. That's when mountains will really be moved!!

Think about how the Oscar Grant story would have played out if it wasn't for all those who were supporters of that family and all the media coverage that his story got. Civil disobedience and everything that was done to get the story aired. This is how we have to do things--in a concerted, organized fashion.

I've linked this story on my own blog and hope my readers come over and lend support to this cause. We see that the police won't do anything without our force, but will we also do nothing? Of course not! I've lent financial support and pray that the goal is reached quickly.
Blessings.

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Renee

Donated what I could and posted a link to your blog on my Facebook.

Whenever I see stories like this I'm reminded of the Rules of Racial Preference stated in Derrick Bell's "Faces At The Bottom Of The Well" - Second rule: "Not only are blacks' complaints discounted, but black victims of racism are less effective witnesses than are whites, who are members of the oppressor class. This phenomenon reflects a widespread assumption that blacks, unlike whites, cannot be objective on racial issues and will favor their own no matter what."

I hope she wins her lawsuit. You would think, however, with the lawsuits that have been won against NYPD in the past they wouldn't need to be sued to do the right thing. </pipedream>

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNehesi

Right now the racism is nothing but ignorance, and that have long been seen regardless of the slaves first and then have struggled susecivamente as independence and their rights, the same that we have the Blace.
Are not people like us? They do not feel anything when it hurts? do not love? then it is nothing different, because not taking them seriously as whites. Race does not matter, no appearance, culture, or religion. Look at people and they are suffering, so much like us. Is not it racism when you're Hispanic. I do not like that I look bad as Hispanic and that many or all either. As I am Hispanic and white in the same position for a black when its color jusgado so I do not like to offend your skin tone by anyone, much less make you feel that society is different because it is not. We are all equal and we all have the same rights.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAna- Sign Company

Donating in a few days, once PayPal clears my overseas funds. May justice be fully served.

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

One word... deplorable.

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I am shocked that this blatant injustice and evil continues to exist; to assume that black womens lives are worth less than those of white women is incredibly ignorant. I live in the UK and racism is alive and kicking here as well. Vitally, I have two beautiful black daughters and I have just made a contribution to the defense fund on their behalf, so that girls like them are protected and valued not just in their families but in the wider community.
God Bless you Romona, rest in perfect peace.

September 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDidi

This case crossed my mind today and I've been seeking updates online for at least an hour (so much for working). I still can't believe that I used to live over there (moved over there 7 months after her murder) and didn't know anything about this until reading it on this blog last year. I donated last year and would like to donate again this year if funds are still needed for legal defense. Are there any updates on the civil case? Found a few updates about the criminal case (and glad that those animals are caged for life + 25 years), but nothing recent about the civil case against NYPD. Any recent information from anyone on here would be greatly appreciated.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

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