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Rep. Maxine Waters asks for inquiry into missing woman

May 6, 2010 |  9:21 pm
U.S. Rep Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday that she has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the disappearance of a woman who was released in September from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station.

Mitrice Richardson, 24, was arrested at Geoffrey's, a Malibu restaurant, for not paying an $89 dinner bill. Deputies who took the Cal State Fullerton graduate into custody described her as "coherent and rational," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told the Board of Supervisors in a letter. 

Mittrice RichardsonWaters asked the Justice Department in a May 5 letter to investigate alleged civil rights violations by the deputies.

"I believe that Mitrice's civil rights were violated when she was arrested and then let go in the middle of the night without money, a phone or transportation," Waters said in a statement.

Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the department, said Thursday night that the deputies followed policy.

"We believe that everything was done right," he said, adding that Baca "obviously believes that nobody's civil rights have been violated."

Whitmore said Baca welcomes an investigation by the Justice Department or any other agency.

Waters previously had asked the FBI to investigate the disappearance, but she said she was told by the agency that it does not probe adult missing persons.

--Robert J. Lopez