How the ‘Grim Sleeper’ got away with killing L.A.’s black women
A former garbage collector, Lonnie Franklin Jr., goes on trial in June for 10 murders. But did the Grim Sleeper kill even more?
It took 30 years before America woke up to what Margaret Prescod was yelling about.
For three decades, the black activist had been raising the alarm that someone was killing black women in South Central Los Angeles and no one listened — not police, not prosecutors, not anybody in power.
At local rallies and protests, Prescod had screamed
“Black lives matter” decades before a police officer shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last year, and before teenager Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a white man in Florida in 2012.
Prescod estimates at least 200 African-American women are missing and as many as 100 have been killed on the streets of South Central, an impoverished, gang-ridden part of Los Angeles.
Outrage erupted in the black community when it was rumoured police had labelled the crimes as NHI — “no humans involved.”
“This is a community of colour. A mainly black community, increasingly Latino, but certainly when these murders began it was a predominantly black neighbourhood,” says Prescod.
“There was, recently, a young white West Virginian college student who went missing and I can tell you, there were daily updates on Google News, on all the major media outlets about her. But how is it possible that you can have this many women missing in South Central L.A., in a relatively small area, and it seems not to matter?” Prescod says.
“I’m not putting down the investigation on the white West Virginian woman. She had a right to that. But so did these women. . . . These women weren’t all school teachers or nurses. The mantle of respectability was kind of ripped off, but what does that matter? These are someone’s daughters and sisters.”