Attorneys Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson, on behalf of the Robinson family, said they are hopeful after sitting down with White House officials on Friday.
The family of Shanquella Robinson, whose fatal beating in Mexico on video last year sparked outrage, said it is hopeful in their quest for justice after meeting with White House officials about the pending murder.
Attorneys Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson, along with activist Tamika Mallory, accompanied Robinson’s family on Friday in their closed-door meeting with the officials, including Stephen Benjamin, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Following the hour-long meeting, the Robinson family and attorneys held a press conference outside the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women to mark the 200th day since Shanquella was pronounced dead at a vacation villa in Baja California, Mexico.
“We are encouraged by our meeting … with the White House officials and White House Counsel,” declared Crump, who said the family and the attorneys discussed the next steps with Biden-Harris officials. The transnational case has resulted in no arrests to date.
“We are grateful that they said … don’t give up on the process [and] we’re going to look at what can be done to make sure that there is at least due process,” the famed civil rights attorney told reporters.
Video evidence leaked online showed a female traveling companion violently attacking 25-year-old Robinson as others stood by without intervening. As theGrio previously reported, the prosecutor’s office in Baja California issued a warrant for DaeJahnae Jackson, one of the travel mates who a witness identified as the woman who attacked Robinson.
To date, Jackson and the other travel companions remain free in the United States. For months, attorneys for the Robinson family called on the U.S. federal government to either charge those involved in her case or extradite the case to Mexico to allow authorities there to take over.
In April, the FBI announced that it would not charge anyone in the killing of Robinson, leaving extradition as the only other option in seeking justice for her murder. The State Department previously told theGrio it does not comment on extradition matters, but was closely monitoring Mexico’s investigation.
Crump told theGrio after Friday’s press conference that the State Department can “help facilitate” the Mexican government and “finally get extradition and custody over the killers based on the warrant.”
Robinson’s mother, Salamondra Robinson, told theGrio she appreciated the White House for meeting with her family.
“I know they have a higher power and they can step in and help to get us some kind of justice,” she said.
During Friday’s press conference, Crump and others also acknowledged that the day marked the birthday of Malcolm X, who famously said, “The most disrespected … most unprotected person … [and] most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
“Black women want to know … that this administration would do everything in their power to move us from Malcolm X’s quote almost 65 years ago and show that we are a better America,” Crump told theGrio.
Family attorney Sue-Ann Robinson, who traveled to Mexico on a solo fact-finding mission in Shanquella Robinson’s killing, told reporters that the family is asking the State Department to prioritize the case in the absence of the FBI filing charges. She noted that is a “protocol” when a U.S. citizen is killed abroad that was not followed.
“The consul general is actually supposed to contact the family. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this case,” Sue-Ann Robinson claimed.
She explained: “Salamondra Robinson and her husband were forced to find their daughter’s body; where it was located [and] find a funeral director in Mexico to prepare her body and arrange for her to be brought back to the United States on their own.”
Crump previously told theGrio that before video evidence surfaced, the FBI said there wasn’t any evidence to substantiate that a crime had been committed.
On Friday, Mallory, co-founder of Until Freedom, said the FBI “failed” Shanquella Robinson and her family “not in a decision not to prosecute but the decision not to jump on what happened to Shanquella and to show up for her in the very beginning.”
She argued that if Robinson was a white woman, there might have been a different outcome in the initial handling of the case.
“If it was a different person of a different hue, they would have shown up to figure out what happened to her,” said Mallory.
A White House official told theGrio the administration would do what is necessary to be helpful in the Robinson case, but noted that there are many other transnational cases before the State Department.
The White House, in a statement on background, said that during Friday’s meeting, Benjamin and other Biden-Harris officials “reiterated their condolences” and “heard directly” from Robinson’s family.
“Officials remain committed to ensuring our nation’s justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment and dignity for all,” the statement read.
The White House also noted that federal officials with the Department of Justice and the FBI met with the family in April to discuss the findings of the federal investigation into Robinson’s death.
Crump said he and the family understands “everybody’s innocent until proven guilty,” adding, “We want to make sure that everybody is given their due process.” However, he says the video of Robinson’s beating “laid bare” the evidence in the case.
“What we saw in that video … there’s no justification for it,” he said. “We’re not asking anything extravagant or anything extra.”
Crump said he was “encouraged” by the White House’s commitment on Friday to update Salamondra Robinson on her daughter’s case as they learn more. However, the lawyer made clear he expects the U.S. government to “do everything in [their] power to help her family get justice — just as you would any other citizen.”
“Shanquella Robinson’s life matters,” he urged.
When asked by theGrio what she wanted the world to know about her daughter, Salamondra Robinson said Shanquella was “very special to me.”
“We loved Shanquella,” she said. “Our hearts are broken that she’s no longer here with us.”
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.
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