Samaria Rice, mother of slain teen Tamir Rice, slammed Shaun King via Instagram and accused him of profiting off of her son’s death.
Rice wrote this week, “along with the united states, you robbed me for the death of my son.” Rice’s 12-year-old son was killed by a Cleveland police officer in 2014 while playing with a toy gun.
The mother’s comments came after King spoke about a conversation he’d recently had with her during episode 469 of The North Star podcast “The Breakdown with Shaun King.”
The episode was called “I spoke to Samaria Rice this past week” and included an episode description that said, “It was a much-needed conversation. I learned a lot. Listened a lot. Shared my heart. And pledged we would continue to fight to get justice and accountability for Tamir.”
The episode seems to have been removed from the website.
On Instagram, Rice questioned King’s motives about why he shared details about their conversation. “Why do you think its so important to tell folks we had a conversation?” she asked.
Rice has criticized King in the past. “I ain’t never talked to Shaun King a day in my life,” she told The Cut earlier this year. “Shaun King raised all that money [for Tamir] and sent me a $60,000 check.” She also accused King of using Tamir’s name without her consent. “I ain’t know Shaun King from a hole in the wall.”
Rice said on Instagram that the conversation she had with King was “toxic” and made her uncomfortable. She said she didn’t understand why King raised more money for the family, then said he didn’t want to bother her.
“Personally I don’t understand how you sleep at night. I never gave you permission to raise nothing.”
Rice started the Tamir Rice Foundation in 2017 and she and King had a falling-out over the fundraising efforts.
On June 22, King wrote in The North Star about his fundraising efforts in connection with Rice, saying he’d raised about $125,000 but had never taken a penny for the money for himself.
King said he left Rice alone but shouldn’t have assumed everyone around her was doing right by her, and suggested she may have been misled about his involvement in the fundraising.
“Everything else – every harsh word said about me, every lie spread by people about my work for Samaria, I just have to let go of,” King said. “For her. And for Tamir.”
Rice said King’s words are “All lies,” adding, “please stop thinking we on the same page.”
She added, “as a white man acting black you are an imposter that can not be trusted….you are a self-centered selfish person and God will deal with you White man.”
Controversy surrounding King’s race has swirled for years. King, who has a white mother, has previously stated that she told him “the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned Black man.” He also said on Instagram that his alleged father is mixed and “could’ve passed for white.”
Rice has previously criticized Black Lives Matter groups and characterized some activists as “ambulance chasers” who profit from the deaths of Black people. She is seeking to have the Department of Justice reopen its investigation into her son’s case.
King was accused on Friday of creating a fake account to defend himself from Rice. An alleged third party stated from the Twitter account @2164eva that they watched the Zoom call between Rice and King. “Shaun was sweet from start to finish,” the user said.
In a series of tweets the user went on to say King was “over the top respectful to Samaria Rice.”
But following the tweets, some users speculated that King was using the account to defend himself. Users pointed out that the account was only recently created this month and that the profile picture is an image of a 20-year-old activist that recently died.
“Just when you think he can’t sink any lower, Shaun King created a fake profile is a Black woman yesterday to boost his image. Problem is, the fake photo is of a real person who was shot and killed last month,” wrote Twitter user @lenubienne.
King told The Shade Room he isn’t responsible for the tweets and that no one from his staff sent them either. The account appears to have been deleted.
On Instagram, King also responded to the controversy and said he was warned by two people close to him not to have the meeting with Rice because “they thought it was going to be a setup.” King added, “In retrospect it might’ve been.” He has since made his Twitter account private.