In 2022, we can’t let Lauren Smith-Fields tragic death become another hashtag.

It’s no longer enough to say our names. Lauren Smith-Fields and Black girls and women deserve justice too.

When I first heard the tragic story of Lauren Smith-Field’s death, I could feel a sudden numbness wash over me. It was my brains attempt to protect me from the horrific reality that by being a Black woman who exists, I am in immediate defiance of a world that wants to see me extinct. The media calls for us to ‘Say Her Name.’ I come here to ask you if you even remember all their names? I don’t. 

Lauren Smith Fields was a 23-year old physical therapy student and social media influencer. On December 12, 2021, she was found dead in her home in Bridgeport, Connecticut. According to reports, Smith-Field’s final moments were spent on a date with Matthew Lafountain, who she met on a popular dating app, Bumble.

LaFountain, described as an ‘older white man’ was invited to Lauren’s apartment on December 11, 2021. He claimed that they took shots of tequila and watched a movie together. Eventually, Lauren “became ill and went to the bathroom to vomit” before receiving a text from her brother, Lakeem Jetter, later in the night. Lauren left for “10–15 minutes” to meet Lakeem outside before joining Lafountain upstairs and finishing the bottle together. Then, Lauren allegedly fell asleep on her couch, and LaFountain carried her to bed and slept as well. By the time he woke up, he saw blood coming from Lauren’s nose and called the police.

Despite LaFountain being the last person with Lauren Smith-Fields when she was alive, the police did not question him. According to Lakeem, the cops explained the reasoning for this was because he seemed like “a nice guy.” Smith-Field’s family were unaware of their loved one’s death until days later when they received a note from the landlord, not the police. The evident lack of urgency from law enforcement continued as Smith-Field’s family searched for answers on Lauren’s mysterious death and why there was little to no investigation on the matter. 

Lauren Smith-Field’s mother, Shantell Fields, described communication with the police and detectives as unprofessional and scarce, saying, ‘How they spoke to us was disgusting.’ The Bridgeport police department handled the investigation so poorly that the family’s lawyer; Darnell Crosland issued an intent to sue the Bridgeport police department.

Crossland said, “After my client’s family forced the BPD to collect the pill found in the apartment, the condom, and the bloody sheet, as of today, those items have not been submitted to the State Laboratory for forensic analysis.” According to Rolling Stone, he went on to say, “It’s happening all too often with Black girls missing across this world, across this country, and no one says anything. “When a white woman goes missing, the whole world drops everything. We are done with this valuation.” 

This world systematically and socially treats Black women like second class citizens of humanity that are sexualised, vilified, exotified and disregarded. Black women are neglected on the operating tables, in the birthing rooms, and even as we lay dead in our own homes, we are not even given the dignity of a proper investigation. In 2022, we can’t let Lauren’s death become another hashtag. 

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Smith-Field’s family stays strong in the centre of this nightmare as they fight for the justice of their daughter and sister, Lauren Smith-Fields. Our deepest condolences for this tragedy, may Lauren Smith-Fields rest in peace. 

You can support the Smith-Field family for their ongoing fight for Lauren’s death to be properly investigated and the Bridgeport police department to be held accountable for their mistreatment of this case. Click here.

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