The Justice Department announced that it will not pursue federal prosecution of anyone in connection with the death of Shanquella Robinson in Mexico last fall.
The DOJ officials said on Wednesday, April 12, that after investigating the young woman’s death, the evidence does not support prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“As in every case under consideration for federal prosecution, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a federal crime was committed,” a statement from DOJ states. “Based on the results of the autopsy and after a careful deliberation and review of the investigative materials by both U.S. Attorneys Offices, federal prosecutors informed Ms. Robinson’s family today that the available evidence does not support a federal prosecution.”
The family and their legal team reject the DOJ’s decision, saying the U.S. authorities never treated the case with urgency and needed to be pushed before making it a priority.
“We’re witnessing the result of a delay, which is why there was always a concern, which is why I always say this is the people’s case,” attorney Sue-Ann Robinson said. “This is the people’s movement that said hey, there’s no reason why a Black woman should go on vacation with her friends, be returned to her family in a box.”
Robinson traveled with a group of six friends to Cabo, Mexico, in October 2022. While vacationing, the 25-year-old mysteriously died. Originally, her travel companions alleged the woman died as a result of alcohol poisoning. However, various stories surrounding what happened to Robinson were not consistent with the findings of the Mexican medical examiner.
According to an autopsy performed in Cabo after her demise, she did not die from an excess of alcohol but from “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation.” This, coupled with a video leaked on social media of Robinson being savagely beaten by one of the travelers, prompted the family to pursue murder charges.
Despite the evidence provided by the Mexican authorities, U.S. officials state the evidence they’ve collected, including an autopsy conducted in Mecklenburg County, does not support pressing criminal charges being brought in an American court.
“The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Robinson has been a priority for federal prosecutors and the FBI,” the DOJ’s announcement read.
“The death of Ms. Robinson has been incredibly difficult for her family and the community. As a matter of policy, federal officials generally do not issue public statements concerning the status of an investigation. However, given the circumstances of Ms. Robinson’s death and the public concern surrounding this investigation, it is important to reassure the public that experienced federal agents and seasoned prosecutors extensively reviewed the available evidence and have concluded that federal charges cannot be pursued.”
In search of the truth for her family, the lawyers traveled to Mexico on a fact-finding mission, and they suggested the information provided by the Mexican government is enough for the DOJ to act.
The attorneys, Robinson and Benjamin Crump, laid out legal options the federal government could pursue in the case in a recent letter to President Joe Biden.
The legal team said if a U.S. citizen commits homicide in Mexico and returns home, they can face criminal charges in the states under federal law or state law, “depending on the circumstances of the crime.”
“Federal charges are brought in cases where the crime involves interstate commerce or federal law enforcement agencies. We know in a transnational case where evidence was possibly transported and persons of interest communicated with each other via cellphone federal charges could be brought against those responsible for Shanquella’s death,” the letter says.
Sue-Ann Robinson believes that a delay in transporting the body led to discrepancies in the case. However, she questioned federal authorities’ disregard of the “video showing a vicious and brutal attack,” adding that the Department of State officials put out a statement in response to the case before an investigation was launched.
“Before any evidence was even entered, there was a statement made [that] there’s no foul play,” the lawyer said at the news conference. “That statement was never retracted. But because the case was never taken seriously from the beginning, that caused the delay … .”
The attorney believes that if the social media movement did not follow the family’s outcry, then the case would’ve never gotten as far as it did.
“It wasn’t taken seriously from the beginning. The people had to move the case. We had to demand that the case be taken seriously,” she added.
In the March 13 letter to the White House, Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson allege one of the six individuals present with Robinson in Cabo, Daejhanae Jackson, has been identified as a key suspect listed on the femicide arrest warrant.
The Department of Justice or Department of State did not communicate the federal government’s position on the woman’s extradition and if she might stand trial in Mexico.
The FBI, according to Sue-Ann Robinson, told the family “There is nothing that can be done in terms of charges being filed by the FBI and that [the family will] have to seek … redress and … justice somewhere else.”
This is not the end of Robinson’s pursuit of justice. The legal team is organizing a rally and march to the State Department on May 19 to demand justice.
The date is symbolic. It marks the 200th day since Robinson’s death.
One thought on “‘They Did Not Take the Case Seriously’: Shanquella Robinson Family’s Attorney Slams FBI for Not Pressing Charges Despite Video of Brutal Beating; Family Isn’t Backing Down”
The F.B.I. and the United States government need to extradite and take the woman in the video and causing her death.