October 18, 2014

Racism involved in Upham search?

Misty Upham's Family Claims Racism Involved In Lack Of Police Action To Search For Missing Actress

By Oulimata BaMisty Upham's family has accused Washington authorities of racism and neglect for ignoring their pleas to find the missing Native American actress, who was found dead on Thursday by a search party coordinated by friends and family.
Upham's body was found at the bottom of a 150-foot ravine near a river in a wooded area of Auburn, Washington.

Tracey Rector, a friend of the family and their spokeswoman, told The Washington Post that relatives feel they were blown off by Auburn police and that long-standing racial tensions between local Native Americans and police may have played a role in their lack of concern.

"The family pleaded for the police department to look for her; they pleaded for dogs," Rector said of Upham, who was reported missing by her father, Charles, on Oct. 6. At the time police said they did not consider the "August: Osage County" actress to be "endangered," The Post reported.

"Unfortunately, it feels like 1950's racism in many ways," Rector added. "The family is concerned that Misty was considered just another Native person and treated as such. Even that is unacceptable. Native lives matter. It doesn't matter what her skin color was."
Was she murdered? Family friend of Django Unchained star Misty Upham claims she may have been the victim of 'foul play' after Juliette Lewis says actress 'feared she would be targeted'

Relatives say uncle Robert Upham organized search party
Believes that she did not commit suicide, suggesting it was an accident
Source, known as Harry, said police were 'derelict' in their search
Her father already posted on Facebook saying police were not helping
Others claimed she may have been the victim of 'foul play'
The 32-year-old was found dead in Seattle woodland by her uncle
Police claim 'no evidence of foul play', she was missing since October 5
Didn't respond to comments that they didn't do enough to look for her
Lewis insists 'this is not a suicide' and calls for investigation into death
Her family claim she fell, they insist she 'would not commit suicide'

By Mia de Graaf and Wills Robinson and Victoria Cavaliere
A spokesman for the family released a statement on Friday evening saying: 'The family wants to make it clear the Auburn police did not help in the investigation or the finding of Misty at all. It was her uncle, Robert Upham, who organized the search party that found Misty.

'The family is concerned that if the police had actually taken their concerns seriously within those first few hours of the report that perhaps she would have been found.

'We are now just waiting on the coroner's report.'

Asked if family and friends could trust the coroner's report, she responded: 'The family has concerns. We are waiting to hear what is stated in the coroner's report but there is a long history of police harassment between the Auburn police and the Native community.

'There's a lot of distrust. And that's founded in the historical trauma experienced by the Native community at the hands of the police.

'And you know, Misty has also experienced harassment at the hands of police so you know, the family is concerned about the circumstances surrounding what happened and why police chose not look for Misty.'
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Misty Upham Dies.

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