Jelani Day

Families of Missing Black men Plead for More Resources and Accountability from Police

“I want the same manpower for my brother,” D’Andre Day said while speaking of Gabby Petito's case. Day's brother went missing in Illinois Aug. 24

Xavion Smith (left), Daniel Robinson (middle), Jelani Day (right)
Aurora Police Dept, Buckeye Police Dept, Bloomington Police Dept

David Robinson hired a private investigator and has traversed the Arizona desert with volunteers in search of his 24-year-old son, Daniel, a geologist who went missing in late June.

Rasheda Smith in Aurora, Colorado, said she didn’t hear from police for more than a week after she reported that her teen stepson, Xavion, had run away earlier this month.

Robinson, Smith and relatives of Jelani "JJ" Day, an Illinois State University graduate student who has not been seen since August, all have something in common: They're Black people who are exasperated after pleading with authorities to do more to find their loved ones.

Their frustration with law enforcement intensified as stories about the disappearance of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old white woman, dominated the national news cycle, the result, some say, of “missing white woman syndrome.” Gwen Ifill, the legendary news anchor, coined that term in 2004 to underscore the news media’s fascination with white women who go missing.

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