LOS ANGELES — Black women made up nearly one-third of all female murder victims in Los Angeles over the past decade despite accounting for less than 5% of the city's population, city officials said.
The statistic was included in a 33-page report Friday by the city's Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, which was called for by councilmembers Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson following the murder of 16-year-old Tioni Theus in 2022.
The teenager's body was found on the side of the Harbor (110) Freeway on the Manchester Avenue on-ramp near South Figueroa Street. She was last seen Jan. 7, 2022 after telling a family member she was going to meet a friend to go to a party, officials said.
Price and Harris-Dawson are members of the city's Civil Rights, Equity, Aging and Disability Committee,
The report received its first hearing Friday afternoon during the committee's meeting.
"Tioni Theus was viciously stolen from her family who are still seeking justice for her murder," Price said in a statement. "Tragically, Black and Latina women across our city experience higher rates of violence with little attention to their pain."
According to Price, the report brings needed attention to this crisis and called for further action.
"Though it cannot bring Tioni back, this report will help us protect more women and girls across Los Angeles," Price said in a statement.
The LA Civil Rights Department's office of racial equity used data from the Los Angeles Police Department and LexisNexis for the report and found that the city's neighborhoods with the highest poverty, unemployment, and environmental hazards see higher rates of violence against women.
The report indicated five key findings, which includes that Black women accounted for 28.2% of all women reported missing in the city over the last two years and 32.85% of the female homicides over the last decade; Hispanic women made up approximately 37% of missing women from the past two years and 42.8% of female homicides over the last decade; mainstream media coverage of Black and Hispanic female victims occurs far less frequently; the number of Black and Hispanic women experiencing violence has remained at a steady, high rate; and lastly, community-based organizations encounter funding barriers that present challenges to continuing long-term services to survivors.
"This report confirms what many of have known for a long time: Black women and Latinas in Los Angeles suffer from a crisis of violence," said Capri Maddox, executive director of the L.A. Civil Rights Department. "We will not let them suffer in silence. This data provides unequivocal proof of this crisis, and strategies for serving our women and girls."
The report also included recommendations for the City Council, which were made with direct input from organizations such as the Jenesse Center, Peace Over Violence and Women Against Gun Violence. The three recommendations indicated investment in prevention programs for women of color, funding for organizations to ensure the longevity of "life-saving" programs and resources for those impacted communities and improving LAPD's data collection systems, which at present do not reflect crime trends for Angelenos with intersecting identities.
The committee voted to continue reviewing the report as councilmembers develop legislative action on the issue. The report will receive a second hearing in the coming weeks before being heard and voted on by the full City Council.