The family alleges that the cops were “racially insensitive” to the family and violated their civil rights. They say that the police department is “just throwing it under the rug.”
Trigger warning: This story contains instances of racial insensitivity that may be disturbing to the readers.
Early on the morning of December 12, 2021, Bridgeport police received a call about an unresponsive woman. When cops arrived, they found 23-year-old student Lauren Smith-Fields lying on her back on the floor, with dried blood in and around her right nostril, according to police.
At the time the cops arrived, there was a "frantic man" in the house, who identified himself as someone who had only known Lauren Smith-Fields for three days and met her on the dating app Bumble, according to police per CNN.
The man told the cops that he had arrived at Lauren's apartment the night before after she had invited him over. The two of them were downing tequila shots when she suddenly became ill and rushed to the toilet to vomit.
She came back, and the two of them continued drinking tequila with mixers, played games, ate food, and started watching a movie, according to police. At some point during the night, Lauren's brother had come to collect some of his clothes.
I’m really grateful for everyone’s support for my sister. Keep her name alive we applying pressure https://t.co/IExMdDR6tv— TRILLIONAIRE TGRAY (@TGray_TaughtHer) January 17, 2022
When she came back after handing over the clothes, she went to the bathroom for approximately 15 minutes, the man who met Lauren on Bumble reported to the police. She then fell asleep on the couch, and the man carried her to her bed, where he fell asleep beside her, too.
Later, when he woke up early that morning to use the restroom, he says Lauren—a babysitter also working as an eyebrow specialist—was snoring, but when he woke up a couple of hours later, he says he saw her lying on her right side with blood coming out of her nostril onto the bed, prompting him to call the police, the report states.
According to the Connecticut Post, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death as "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol," and the manner accidental.
The worst part is that not one officer thought of informing Lauren's family about her unfortunate death. "The mom had been calling, because Christmas dinner was supposed to be at Lauren's house that year," attorney Darnell Crosland said. "They drove over there, found a note on the door from the landlord that said if anyone is looking for Lauren, call me. The police never tried to reach out to the family, they just took her body out of the home."
lauren smith-fields went on a bumble date with a older white man and they went back to her place. the man later called the police to tell them that lauren was dead. the man has not been looked into as a suspect because “he seemed like a great guy” #JusticeForLaurenSmithFields pic.twitter.com/6sKHMJ1bvp— jules (@rihsxo) January 21, 2022
Now, even though it has been over a month since Lauren's death, the family is still looking for answers. Authorities contend that there was no foul play involved in Smith-Fields' death, but her family isn't convinced, per PEOPLE.
"They wanted us to forget about our daughter, their sister, our loved one," explained Smith-Fields' mother, Shantell Fields, while speaking to WNBC. "They thought they were just going to throw her away like she was garbage, like she wasn't important, like she didn't have family members who loved her. We're fighting for her."
"I feel like because he's a white guy and she's a Black girl, they're just throwing it under the rug," Lauren's brother, Lakeem Jetter said further alleging that the police told his family they wouldn't be investigating Lauren's date, saying "he seemed like a nice guy."
Crosland has also filed a notice of claim with Bridgeport, alerting them of his intent to sue the city "in an effort to obtain due process." The notice alleges, "The Police Department has been racially insensitive to this family, and has treated this family with no respect and has violated their civil rights."
It adds that the city's police have "failed to investigate this matter, and they refuse to view the last person with Lauren Smith-Fields before she died as a person of interest. This behavior is unacceptable."
March on what would have been the 24th birthday of Lauren Smith-Fields of Bridgeport, found dead in her apartment Dec. 12. pic.twitter.com/58ExZhBUx6— Ethan Fry (@ethanfry) January 23, 2022
"We will not stop until we get justice for Lauren and the thousands of black girls that go missing in this country every year," said Crosland in a statement shared with CNN. "We owe them equal rights and justice regardless of race and we wouldn't stop fighting until we get it."
To help the grieving family with the expenses for the ongoing legal battle and to conduct an investigation of their own by hiring a private investigator, a GoFundMe has been set up.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | Justice For Lauren