In a number of Facebook posts, Samaria mentioned Tamika multiple times, arguing that performances of this type got in the way of achieving actual justice with regards to instances of police brutality.
“Look at this clout chaser,” Samaria, whose son was killed by white Cleveland cop Timothy Loehmann in 2014 at the age of 12, said in one post. “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 shit like this.”
Shortly after those posts started making headlines, a joint statement from Samaria Rice and Lisa Simpson—the mother of Richard Risher—was released.
“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” the statement—which named Tamika Mallory and Ben Crump, among other prominent voices—said. “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.”
In a recent video with Mysonne, Tamika Mallory has addressed the criticism, noting at the top of her statement that she has reached out through various channels in an effort to have a direct conversation with Samaria.
“I have seen a lot of you who’ve been asking me to do what I always do, which is to be authentic and to come to you all and talk about some of what you have heard,” Tamika said in the video, released late last week. “I want to just make sure that we start off grounded in the fact that nothing we say today is an attack against [Samaria Rice]. I want to make sure that is stated from the very, very beginning. Quite frankly, Ms. Rice is right.”
From there, Tamika explained how the entire country has failed Samaria and other mothers of those killed by police.
“I support, 100 percent, how she feels and what she has stated in terms of her pain related to her son,” she said. “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.”
Tamika then spoke on her efforts at avoiding “divisiveness” within movements.
“I will never, ever allow my organization or my team … to be used as a tool in the master’s box,” she said. “I will never allow that. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you might as well turn away because it’s not going to happen.”
Later, Tamika said she and her team—which includes the Until Freedom group, whose co-founders also include Mysonne—have always “been careful” to not speak about cases or individuals with whom they have not worked with directly.
“[Samaria and I have] never actually sat down or had a phone conversation or met in any way,” she said. “So, therefore, I would never be so disrespectful as to speak about her child or to have a campaign that addresses her child or uses her child’s name to uplift any cause … To that end, I guess, Ms. Rice has said that she wants me to not speak of her child. And while I may not have been doing it in the past, I will be very, very, very careful going forward to ensure that I respect her wishes.”
Tamika added that the criticism “definitely hurt,” noting that she’s available to Samaria and other families directly affected by police brutality “to be supportive if necessary.”
Watch an extended version of Tamika and Mysonne’s video up top.