Shanquella Robinson’s Case Will No Longer Be Pursued by US Federal Prosecutors, So What’s Next?


On Wednesday in North Carolina, the United States Department of Justice met with the family of Shanquella Robinson to express their condolences as they announced that no federal charges will be filed for her death. In a statement released that day by the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina, investigators cited a lack of sufficient evidence being the reason why no charges can be pressed.

The differences in Robinson’s autopsy reports done in Mexico and the U.S. are one of the main reasons for this lack of evidence, and this was highlighted by the attorneys for Robinson’s family, Sue-Ann Robinson-who’s in no relation to Shanqulla Robinson-and Ben Crump. In Robinson’s autopsy done in Mexico, a spinal cord injury was credited as her cause of death. When the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on her weeks later, they found brain swelling but no evidence of spinal injury. 

“These discrepancies can be credited to the delay in investigation by U.S. officials, who conducted a second autopsy once Shanquella’s body was embalmed,” Crump said in a press release. “When an investigation is delayed, the hard evidence to support prosecution diminishes, but in this case, that is due to the U.S. not considering this case to be a high priority.”

Shanquella Robinson passed away on October 29, 2022, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, while traveling there from North Carolina with a group of so-called “friends.” It was Robinson’s first day of her trip when she passed. In mid-November, a video went viral of Robinson being severely beaten by her friends on the day of her death. The same friends were the ones to tell her family and authorities that they believed Robinson died of alcohol poisoning. Her official death certificate however referenced spinal cord and neck injury as her cause of death. Her “friends” were able to flee back to the United States before they could be arrested in Mexico. 

While the U.S. has decided not to take action, what is promising is that Mexico has issued arrest warrants for suspects involved in Robinson’s death. In the press release by Crump Law, Crump and Robinson also said that Mexican prosecutors have identified one of the individuals Robinson traveled to Mexico with a “direct aggressor” and they’re willing to press charges on them. In order for this to happen however, the United States would have to extradite this person back to Mexico to face criminal prosecution there. 

Still, the Robinson family and their attorneys are disappointed with the fact that Robinson’s home country is not pushing harder for her justice.

“What kind of system is this?” Robinson’s mother, Sallamondra Robinson, said in a justice panel at Livingstone College on March 23 in reference to the fact that there is viral video evidence of her daughter’s aggressors. 

Robinson’s sister, Quilla Long, echoed her mother’s frustration, and said that the lack of action towards this case in the U.S. has made them question their own government. 

What’s more is extradition can be a long and cumbersome process that can take years to achieve. In order for extradition to happen, the suspect would have to be found and arrested, and their extradition would have to be approved by the Secretary of State and Department of Justice. 

Still, Robinson’s family, along with Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson and the rest of their supporters, are determined to achieve justice for Shanquella. In March, Crump and Robinson sent a letter to the White House naming the direct aggressors in Robinson’s death. A rally of social justice warriors have also continued to put pressure on the White House to take action in this case. 

Sue-Ann Robinson has called for a march on the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. on May 19th, 2023. This date will be the 200th day mark since the passing of Shanquella Robinson. 

“We have more questions than answers from U.S. authorities but will continue to take action and stand with the family,” Robinson said in a post promoting the march. “We are disappointed but not deterred-justice is still possible for Shanquella’s death.” 

For more information and updates on the march for Shanquella Robinson, visit the Million Youth March of Charlotte & Salisbury Teen Advisory Board Facebook page here:

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