Mother of Tamir Rice Tells Activists to Stop Profiting off Her Son’s Death
Photo by Andrew Burton

Samaria Rice and Lisa Simpson, mothers of Tamir Rice and Richard Risher respectively, are slamming civil rights activists, attorneys and organizations for allegedly exploiting the deaths of their sons. They asked Tamika D. Mallory, Shaun King, Benjamin Crump, Lee Merritt, Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah and the Black Lives Matter Global Network to step down and “stop monopolizing and capitalizing” on their “fight for justice and human rights.” 

“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” both mothers said in a joint statement. “The ‘activists’ have events in our cities and have not given us anything substantial for using our loved ones’ images and names on their flyers.” Rice added, “in the case of Tamir Rice, it was even questionable as to whether Benjamin Crump knew the laws in depth in the state of Ohio; I fired him 6-8 months into Tamir’s case.” 

Rice was killed in Cleveland, Ohio by officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014. Within two seconds of Loehmann arriving on the scene of a recreation center where Rice was playing with a fake gun, the officer opened fire, striking the 12-year-old boy. Loehmann said he mistook Rice for a man when responding to a call that there was a threatening man at the recreation center with a gun. Loehmann was not charged with Rice’s death, and on December 29, 2020, the Department of Justice announced that an “independent federal investigation into the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio, found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.” This was yet another blow to the Black community after enduring the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.  

Richard Risher, 18 was killed by LAPD on July 25, 2016 when officers say they saw members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods gang hanging around a housing project. Officers say when they approached the group, Risher took off running and they chased after him. They noticed he was holding a gun and at some point officers say a back-and-forth exchange of gunfire took place between them and Risher. As a result, one officer was struck in the arm, and Risher was fatally struck in the hand and back. The LA police commission said the LAPD officers were justified in killing Risher.  

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Thompson and Rice’s decision to criticize well known activists and attorneys comes after Mallory’s Grammy performance with Lil Baby over the weekend. The two performed the rapper’s “The Bigger Picture,” a song about police brutality. Rice shared a Facebook post with Mallory’s performance and captioned the image, “look at this clout chaser. Did she lose something in this fight i don’t think so. That’s the problem they take us for a joke that’s why we never have justice cause of s*** like this.” 

Both mothers made six major demands, which include activists and attorneys stepping out of the spotlight and not doing anymore interviews or holding press conferences involving their children. They also want BLM L.A. to pay Simpson the $5,000 they allegedly raised for his funeral. Simpson says she never received a cent. The mom’s also posted their cashapps for anyone who wants to personally donate money to them for their sons’ deaths.  

Rice and Simpson are also asking that these prominent figures to no longer accumulate “donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of [their] loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken.” Their statement concluded, “Don’t say our loved ones’ names period! That’s our truth!” 

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