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Ilhan Omar, Brittany Clardy, Minnesota, Black women, missing, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Alberto Palmer

Source: Scott Eisen / Getty

On Sept. 20, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and New Jersey Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman introduced the Brittany Clardy Act. The bill would establish an office dedicated to missing and murdered Black women and girls within the Department of Justice.

The new legislation was named after 18-year-old Brittany Clardy, a Minnesota teen whose body was found frozen in a car at a Columbia Heights impound in February 2013.

“The crisis of missing and murdered Black women and girls demands urgent action,” Omar told Teen Vogue about the historic effort. “This is not just a piece of legislation; it’s a beacon of hope for Black women and girls across the nation. By creating a dedicated office, we are not only addressing the alarming disparities in violence but also reaffirming our commitment to ensuring that every Black life is valued and protected.”


What happened to Brittany Clardy?

In 2014, Alberto Palmer, 25, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he admitted to killing Clardy and 24-year-old Klaressa Cook, according to The Star Tribune. The Woodbury native was also accused of raping and brutally beating three other women in Georgia.

Family and close friends of Clardy said that she left her home in St. Paul on Feb. 11, 2013, and never returned home. When they tried to contact the police, their concerns were “brushed” off.

“We knew something was wrong right away,” Clardy’s sister Lakeisha Lee told NPR in May. “After they asked us her age and asked us about her demographics, they said, ‘Well, she just turned 18, she probably ran away with her boyfriend.’ We knew her. We’re the experts on our family.”

Two weeks later, the young teen was found dead in the trunk of her car.

Officials from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office claimed that Clardy met up with Palmer after she posted an ad on, an advertising website, according to CBS News.

The Minnesota Coalition For Battered Women noted that Palmer struck the 18-year-old in the head with a hammer multiple times when they met up at a Brooklyn Park home.

On Wednesday, Omar paid tribute to Clardy and other Black women disproportionately impacted by violence.

“This bill is dedicated to the memory of Minnesotans like Brittany Clardy, and the countless other Black women who have been the victims of crimes but whose cases were initially brushed off by law enforcement.”

This year, Minnesota became the first state to establish an office for Missing and Murdered African American Women and Girls.

Led by State Rep. Ruth Richardson, the department investigates cold cases and re-opens “suspicious” cases where Black women or girls were declared to have died by suicide or drug overdose. The office also works alongside law enforcement and serves as a point of contact for witnesses who may be afraid to speak with police.

In Minnesota, Black women and girls are disproportionately impacted by violence, a 2022 report conducted by the Missing and Murdered African American Woman Task Force found.

While African American women and girls make up 7% of the population in the state, they represent 40% of domestic violence victims. Black women are nearly three times more likely to be murdered than white women in Minnesota.


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