CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new report from the Invisible Institute and City Bureau found problems with the way Chicago police handle cases of missing and murdered mostly Black women and girls.
Details of the report were presented to the Missing and Murdered Chicago Women Task Force Wednesday.
"They are not equipped with the sensitivity and often with the transparency in order to support families who are experiencing a missing loved one," said Trina Reynolds-Tyler, data director for Invisible Institute.
Reynolds-Tyler and Sarah Conway of City Bureau spent two years pouring over police reports and complaints about CPD.
"When people go missing in Chicago, particularly Black women and girls who disproportionately make up missing persons cases, it leaves a ripple effect on families and communities," said Conway.
They found that police officers routinely deny or delay people who try to report their loved ones missing; police declined to investigate key leads or lost evidence, leaving families to conduct their own searches; and discrepancies in data-keeping practices, including cases in which detectives reported the person had returned but the family said they had not come home alive.
"When I needed help to look for my mom or to go find her body, nobody wanted to help me," said Teresa Smith, member of the task force.
Smith's mother went messing in 2018. She wants to see changes so other families don't go through what she has.
"The main thing is respect," she said. "Respect us, because we are human and everybody is loved by somebody. We deserve the same attention that everybody else gets."
Chicago police said they are continuously working to strengthen communication in these cases with the goal of treating the families missing persons with dignity and respect.