Pictured are 12-year-old Tamir Rice and his mother Samira Rice, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine and Attorney Subodh Chandra
CLEVELAND, Ohio-The mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the Black kid who was gunned down last November by Cleveland police for sporting a toy gun at a public park on Cleveland's west side, has fired Florida Attorney Benjamin Crump and Akron, Ohio Attorney Walter Madison relative to a wrongful death lawsuit pending in federal district court before chief federal court Judge Solomon Oliver, who is Black.
Samaria Rice, Tamir Rice's mother, filed her request to the court last week to replace her current attorneys, while her proposed new attorneys of the New York firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady the Chicago firm of Firm Equity, and the Chandra Law Firm, of Cleveland simultaneously filed their motion for leave from the court to appear as new counsel in the case.
Before hiring Attorneys Crump and Madison, whom she now wants gone, Samaria Rice had hired greater Cleveland attorney David Malik to prosecute the lawsuit, whom she also fired.
At issue also are court appointed administrators of the estate of Tamir Rice in the wrongful death lawsuit, at least two of them put on or off the civil case thus far, and what monies they deserve to get.
And Samaria Rice wants Tamir Rice's biological father, whom she says allegedly did not raise him, to stop holding press conferences without her knowledge, the grieving mother said in her written request to the court for substitute counsel.
Activists said that they are pleased that Samaria Rice fired her current attorneys.
"She is Tamir's mother and is doing what is best for her son and her family, and we support the decision," said community activist Al Porter, the vice-president of Black on Black Crime Inc.
Kathy Wray Coleman, a local journalist who leads the Imperial Women Coalition and edits Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper, went even further in her assessment in the matter.
"These attorneys are often getting more money than the victims families in these excessive force police murder civil cases, and this is on top of what the court awards the administrator of the estate," said Coleman. "And in too many instances of legal representation in criminal cases, many of them malicious, they are selling out Blacks that they represent to kiss up to biased and unfair judges and prosecutors such as County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who is pro-police and anti-Black,"
Coleman said that Attorney Madison should not be trusted, and had allegedly threatened activists with indictments on frivolous criminal charges by the county grand jury without a case in the common pleas court or even before a grand jury, and with the alleged intent of getting exorbitant and unnecessary monies for legal representation.
Judge Oliver held a hearing Tuesday morning in the Federal District Court of the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland on Samaria Rice's request for new attorneys, but the court has not yet ruled on her request, or the accompanying motion filed by her attorneys.
It is likely, data show, that her attorneys' motion will be granted since the lawsuit is in the early stages and new counsel has appeared in the case.
Subodh Chandra, of the Chandra Law Firm, which is among the new law firms seeking to now represent Samaria Rice and the Tamir Rice estate, is a former law director under former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, who was ousted from office in 2005 by current three-term Black Mayor Frank Jackson, a former city council president. He subsequently ran unsuccessfully for county prosecutor, losing the Democratic primary in a crowded field to current County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, also a former common pleas judge.
Cuyahoga County, which includes the largely Black city of Cleveland, is the largest among 88 counties in Ohio.
Chandra sent out a press release two weeks ago after Cleveland Judge Ron Adrine found probable cause for criminal charges against the officer that killed Rice, and his partner, including murder charges against the cop that pulled the trigger. The longtime judge had refused then, and still now, refuses to issue an arrest warrant as required by state law regarding citizen's affidavits for criminal charges.
The chief and presiding judge of the 13-member largely Black Cleveland Municipal Court, Adrine claims that the criminal rules require a complaint from a prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant. An American-Indian by nationality, Chandra begs to differ with Adrine and says that in this instance state law governs.
The eight activists that filed the citizen affidavit upon which the judge found probable cause have since asked the Ohio Eight District Court of Appeals to order Adrine to issue an arrest warrant against the two cops, a filing in legal terms that is dubbed a petition for a writ of mandamus.
Attorney Madison, Samaria Rice's attorney until the federal court removes him, did not take the aggressive stand that Chandra took on the dispute over whether the cops must get arrested like Blacks typically do, and actually held a press conference applauding Adrine, who is Black.
End the end though, Ohio municipal court judges, that hear traffic and misdemeanor cases and small time civil cases, cannot hear felony cases like court of common pleas judges, and have jurisdiction only to hold preliminary hearings and to have such cases bound over to the common pleas court upon a finding of probable cause, or they can dismiss them after a preliminary hearing. And only a county grand jury can indict Ohioans, and other of course, on felony charges in state courts.
Community activists say that the state law relative to the filing of a criminal affidavit by a citizen for criminal charges allows people to bypass the prosecutors, while Adrine says that the criminal rules mandate a criminal complaint to arrest on a probable cause finding and only the prosecutor can file such complaints in Ohio trial courts. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com