The serial killer and rapist dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” terrorized Los Angeles throughout the 1980s, up until 2007. Lonnie Franklin Jr., 62, is the prime suspect - he’s been charged with murdering 10 people and attempting to kill another person.
A new documentary by British filmmaker Nick Broomfield suggests the Grim Sleeper killed as many as 180 people, but the police turned a blind eye because the victims were mostly black female prostitutes and drug addicts.
Broomfield claims the police failed to properly investigate the women’s disappearances and murders. “I thought it was just incredible in the middle of LA which is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, within 15 minutes of the Hollywood sign over 200 women had disappeared in a 25 year period,” he said. “It was almost like a genocide happening and nobody was talking about it.”
In his documentary, Broomfield said the police didn’t warn people about the serial killer because residents of the neighborhoods he hunted in were considered a nuisance. “They were just seen as disposable people,” he said.
“The police had this term, NHI, which meant no human involved, which they used to call in murders of prostitutes by gang members. They didn’t take it seriously, they didn’t seek evidence. They would often not even use the proper name of the prostitute, just call it in as a ‘Jane Doe,’” Broomfield said, according to the Daily Mail.
“They just didn't take it seriously. Most of the women were prostitutes and drug addicts and I don't think it helped that the people were black.”
Broomfield doesn’t think it’s a coincidence more than 200 people disappeared or were murdered in a small area over a 25 year period. He also believes the Grim Sleeper might have been stopped if the disappearances had been taken seriously. “If police had told the public in 1987 when they knew there was a serial killer who had already killed five victims, if they had told the community then I think things could have been very different and a lot of lives saved.”
Broomfield discussed his theory with Franklin’s son Christopher, who said police almost seemed “grateful” that the Grim Sleeper was picking off people who were considered a burden on society.
Police arrested Franklin in 2010, after DNA evidence linked him to more than a dozen crime scenes. His trial is set to commence in June.
Broomfield’s documentary, “Tales of The Grim Sleeper” will air on HBO soon.