Samaria Rice, the mother of slain sixth-grader Tamir Rice, is far from done unloading her grievances with those she accuses of “hustling Black death” as a pseudo form of activism against police killings.
Samaria, 44, lost her twelve-year-old son seven years ago, but the pain remains palpable. And insult is felt as she watches self-appointed activists such as Tamika Mallory, Shaun King, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and others speak out against police brutality, all the while yelling her son’s name, and the names of countless other Black men, women, and children killed at the hands of police.
In a May interview for “New York magazine,” Samaria holds nothing back while slamming activists for allegedly failing to provide real support to families dealing with the realities of police killings.
“All of the families should be getting therapy, and all of them should be getting the tools to speak for themselves, not have people speak for them,” she said. Her son, Tamir, was playing with a pellet gun in front of a Cleveland, Ohio, community recreational center on Nov. 22, 2014 when police were called. Two officers arrived on the scene, and within seconds Tamir was fatally shot. His name was among the first on a seemingly never-ending list of hashtags demanding justice for Black lives and police reform.
Just two short months ago, the mother of four, and Lisa Simpson — mother of Richard Risher, who was killed by police in a Watts housing project — called out Mallory, King, Crump and so many others for “monopolizing and capitalizing” off of the fight for justice lead by the families of victims.
“We don’t want or need y’all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken,” wrote Samaria and Simpson in a joint statement released in March.
Samaria laments that those such as Mallory — who has been a significant source of the mother of four’s frustration — that have not lost a child should not be the face of movement for justice.
“They should not be standing on the front line like this was they child,” she said. “You supposed to be uplifting the family, the community, teaching us how to love on each other, not bickering and fighting about who gon’ get the next case or who gon’ be on TV next. It’s a mess.”
The grieving mother even questions how Mallory landed the job of activism when her family, in particular, have never requested the public figure to advocate for them or Tamir. “I heard her say this is a job,” she told the New York magazine interviewer. “Who hired you? Who sent you? Are you showing up as an activist or an entertainer?”
In March, Samaria unleashed a flood of outrage when Mallory joined rapper Lil Baby on stage during his Grammy performance to recite a poem addressing the nation’s reckoning with police brutality. “I’m tired of yall black lives matter (Tamkia Mallory and crew) b—–s that’s riding these family back and yall ambulance chasing Attorneys (Ben Crump) (Lee Merrick) too yall have f–k up our fight and yall can kiss my a-s too … Make it make sense…you can’t working with devils is easy too do. F–k yall,” she wrote.
Mallory heard the message loud and clear and responded.
“I support, 100 percent, how she feels and what she has stated in terms of her pain related to her son,” Mallory said a video. “And, in fact, I think and I was going to say to you, I feel like we all have failed her … As a nation, I think that whenever a child or any person — but particularly a child — is killed, we should, this nation should have erupted. And the fact that she did not get the proper justice for her son would make anyone angry, so I totally understand [and] respect the trauma and pain that she feels as a mother.”
King wasn’t left unscathed. Samaria noted she’s never met activist but found him raising money on her deceased son’s behalf without her consent. “I ain’t never talked to Shaun King a day in my life. Shaun King raised all that money [for Tamir] and sent me a $60,000 check. I ain’t know Shaun King from a hole in the wall.”
King has repeatedly denied accusations of funneling money raised for victims of police brutality. He told the magazine, “I have never, once in my life, raised funds for a single family without being asked to do so.”
As for Samaria, she has expressly stated she is done with activists simply offering words, it’s time for action.
“I think they can make things right with the community and try to show the community that they are working and not just talking … you got these corporate people listening to you like you doing the work, and you not doing the work if you not in these streets.”