Monday, December 8, 2014

Michael Brown attorney to represent family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old whom Cleveland police killed, attorneys join community activists to call for Mayor Frank Jackson to fire safety director Michael McGrath and former safety director Martin Flask, now a chief assistant to the mayor, attorneys also want community oriented police advisory board and say the family does not trust Cleveland police to push for an indictment of the White police officer that shot and Rice

Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice along side Benjamin Crump, Leonard Warner and Walter Madison speaks during a news conference in Cleveland
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old boy who was fatally shot by police speaks during a news conference at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland on Dec. 8, 2014. To the left of Samaria Rice is Rice family Attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represents the families of slain Black unarmed teens  Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.  To the right of Samaria Rice is Akron based attorney Walter Madison, who will assist Crump in the controversial case that has caused racial unrest in the largely Black major metropolitan city of Cleveland. Photo by Aaron Josedczyk—Reuters

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473 ( / (

Tamir Rice
CLEVELAND, Ohio- Led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the family of 12-year-old Cleveland police shooting victim Tamir Rice has switched attorneys from Cleveland Attorney David Malik to Benjamin Crump, the attorney that represents the families of slain unarmed Black teens Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Martin of Florida and Brown of Ferguson, Missouri.

The highlight of the press conference was when Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, called for a conviction of the Cleveland police officer that shot and killed her son, and that of his partner,  a mother's tuition, if you will. Whether a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury will indict the officers at issue, remains to be seen. 

Crump, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. Jawanza Karriem Colvin and Akron-based attorney Walter Madison, who will assist Crump in the case, spoke along with the family of Tamir Rice at a press conference Monday afternoon at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on the city's largely Black east side. 

Rice's new attorneys, Colvin, and Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson, who also attended the press conference,  are joining community activists in calling for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to fire former safety director and now chief police assistant Martin Flask, a current safety director and former police chief Michael McGraft , and to initiate a national search for their replacements, coupled with a community-oriented advisory board.

Both Flask and McGraft are White and have come under fire by Cleveland area community activists, who demanded their resignations in 2009 at a protest in front of the mayor's home during a rally led by the Imperial Women Coalition around police negligence in 2009 as to the the killings of 11 Black women on Imperial Avenue on the city's east side by since convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell. 

"The police are suppose to de-escalate situations, not escalate them," said Crump. 

Crump also said that the family does not trust the police and believes that efforts are underway to protect the White cop that killed the boy from an indictment on criminal charges. 

Malik filed a wrongful death and Civil Rights lawsuit against the City of Cleveland and a host of other defendants last week on behalf of the Rice family, which is expected to be amended by Crump and Madison.

Community activists, Black ministers and others will protest at 6 pm today on the steps of Cleveland City Hall over the death of Rice, other police killings and a damning report announced last week by the U.S. Department of Justice that found systemic problems in the largely White Cleveland Police Department from reckless police killings to illegal tasing and pistol whippings of innocent people, mainly Black people. 

Rice was shot and killed on Nov 22 by rookie Cleveland police officer Tim Loehmann 26, who gunned the Black boy down outside of a gazebo at the Cudell Recreation Center as his partner, Frank Jarmback, his gun drawn also, watched the killing. Both Loehmann and Jarmback are White and both are on administrative leave with pay.

Rice had a toy pellet gun that he allegedly was pointing at people before police arrived following a 9-1-1 call, though surveillance video shows no crowd when police zoom up on the young boy and shoot him instantly. His older sister told reporters that police said raise your shirt and then shot the child twice in the abdomen, and then claimed later that Rice went for his toy gun. He died later at a local / (