Missing and Murdered Unit Established for American Indian and Alaska Native Justice | New


WASHINGTON – Home Secretary Deb Haaland on April 2 announced the formation of a Missing and Murdered Persons Unit within the Office of Indian Affairs of the Office of Justice Services to provide leadership and direction for interdepartmental work and Interagency Report on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. .

According to the BIA, the MMU will help put the full weight of the federal government in investigating these cases and mobilize law enforcement resources in federal agencies and across the Indian country.

“Violence against indigenous peoples has been an underfunded crisis for decades. All too often, cases of murders and missing persons in the Indian country go unresolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated, ”Haaland said. “The new MMU unit will provide the resources and leadership to prioritize these cases and coordinate resources to hold people accountable, keep our communities safe and ensure family closures.”

According to the BIA, approximately 1,500 Native Americans and Alaska Natives have been recorded in the National Crime Information Center across the United States, and approximately 2,700 cases of non-negligent murder and homicide have been reported to the United States. Federal Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. .

A task force on the missing and murdered American Indians and Alaskan natives – Operation Lady Justice – was formed in 2019 to pursue these unresolved cases, BIA officials said. The announcement builds on this work by appointing new leadership and support positions, including a unit head responsible for engagement with stakeholders, ongoing policy development and overall performance of the company. ‘unity. Interior is also appointing new positions with existing federal funding to support MMU investigative needs, including collection and analysis of performance data and coordination of services with families of victims.

Investigations often remain unresolved due to a lack of investigative resources available to identify new information from testimony, re-examine new or retained physical evidence and examine new activities of suspects, officials said. The MMU, in addition to reviewing unresolved cases, will immediately begin working with tribal, BIA, and Federal Bureau of Investigation investigators on active investigations into the disappearances and murders.

The MMU will also allow the Interior to expand its collaborative efforts with other agencies, including working to improve the national DOJ missing and unidentified system and developing strategic partnerships with other parties. stakeholders such as the FBI Behavior Analysis Units, the FBI Forensic Lab, the US Marshals Missing Child Unit, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“Whether it’s a missing family member or a homicide investigation, those efforts will all be on the bridge,” Haaland said. “We are fully committed to assisting tribal communities with these investigations, and MMU will use all available resources to be a force multiplier to prevent these cases from becoming cold case investigations. “

For more information, visit Missing and Assassinated Unit (MMU) – Operation Lady Justice.

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