Ohio kidnapping probe stirs questions about race, status

 

(USAToday) Judy Martin recites the names of missing people in Cleveland like a well-memorized poem. She knows names, dates, last-known whereabouts and details about dozens of cases dating to 1997.

Martin, who founded Survivors/Victims of Tragedy, also says she knows how race and economic status play a role in how police treat cases, including those of three women held captive for years in a rundown Cleveland neighborhood.

Martin says cases involving people of color and lower incomes don't get the same law enforcement resources as others. But the Cleveland Police Department says officers did all they could find Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, and they investigate missing-persons cases without any biases.

"When it's somebody of color or someone from in a poorer area, we don't seem to get the response that other areas of the country get," said Martin, whose group works with families of victims. "It needs to stop. When a person goes missing, it shouldn't matter whether they're white, black, Hispanic, Asian, purple, green or blue."

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