The family of Lauren Smith-Fields—the Black woman who died mysteriously after a date with an older white man, 37-year-old Matthew LaFountain—is refusing to take their collective foot off the neck of the Bridgeport Police Department and they are demanding that Smith-Field’s case be taken seriously. Moreover, they’re finally getting more eyes on the case as it continues to garner national attention.
On what would have been Lauren Smith-Fields’ 24th birthday, hundreds of people marched from the police department headquarters to the doorstep of the mayor’s office Sunday to demand answers and to call out the cruel and indifferent behavior the police investigators are accused of.
As the Ct Post reported, protesters chanted things like “We want answers,” “Protect Black women,” “Save our daughters,” “Bridgeport, step up” and “Mayor Ganim, step up,” as they marched from Congress Street to the Morton government center.
From Ct Post:
At the end of the march, Smith-Fields’ family gathered at the plaza in front of the city’s office building and reiterated their demands — an independent investigation by state police and attorney general, a transparent internal affairs probe about how local cops handled the case, and a bill in her name requiring cops notify families sooner in cases of untimely deaths.
They said they became concerned when Smith-Fields wasn’t answering text messages and went to her apartment in Bridgeport. By the time they got there, she had already been dead for more than a day, and her body had been taken from the apartment, all without their knowledge.
We previously reported that the family’s attorney, Darnell Crosland, announced that they would be filing a lawsuit against the department alleging that investigators have refused to question LaFountain as a suspect because he’s such a “nice guy,” and that officers were rude to family members and even went so far as to demand that they stop calling the department about Smith-Fields’ case.
Crosland made similar comments on Roland Martin Unfiltered and noted that Matthew LaFountain hasn’t even been called a “person of interest.”
According to Alexis Farrow, a friend and spokesperson for Smith-Field’s family, the family members said they only learned of her death via “a note on her door,” and that note wasn’t even left by the police department. In fact, the note was left by Smith-Field’s landlord, who included a number where they could be reached.
Smith-Field’s father, Everett Smith, said during the protest that the family’s treatment by the city and police is “totally unacceptable,” and her mother, Shantell Fields said her daughter had been treated “like rubbish.”
“The arrogance. The insensitivity,” Smith said. “My daughter had a life. My daughter traveled the world. She was in college. All we keep getting is doors closed in our face and empty promises.”
It was also noted that city council members Maria Pereira, Michelle Small, and Jorge Cruz were the only Bridgeport elected officials who bothered to attend the rally and that Mayor Joe Ganim never showed up.
“I am angry about this as a mother,” Pereira said as she called on Ganim to speak about the case.
“We are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” added attorney Crosland said during the protest. “But we know this: Lauren-Smith Fields’ name will stand for change.”
Activist and Bridgeport resident Naii Dawkins was in attendance at the rally to stand in solidarity with the family.
“I’m an African-American female and I’ll be 25 next month,” Dawkins said. “This could have been my life. My parents could have been here today doing something like this. So it’s important we stand together in unity and make sure we are highlighting things happening in the community and advocating for change.”
Well, Mayor Ganim and the Bridgeport police might be silent about Smith-Fields, but many on social media are not. Even Cardi B has taken to Twitter to bring attention to the case.
Similarly, other celebs, prominent figures, and TikTokers are also bringing awareness to the ongoing investigation.
It’s worth mentioning that despite Smith-Fields’ body being discovered on December 12, the medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death.
No one should be kept in the dark like this after an immediate family member has died. This is unbelievably sad, and Lauren deserves better.