CLEVELAND -- The mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice is taking a stance in the Cleveland mayoral race amid the police endorsement of candidate Zack Reed.
Samaria Rice was joined by attorney Subodh Chandra for a Monday morning news conference in which the duo demanded Reed "disavow, repudiate and reject the endorsement of that extremist anti-police reform, pro-Donald Trump organization."
Chandra spoke for nearly 20 minutes about Reed saying he's "extremely honored" to be endorsed by the city's police union.
“Today, it is clear that an endorsement by the CPPA (Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association), by its current leadership, is an endorsement of lawlessness, of lack of police accountability, a corrupt approach to governing and the white nationalism represented by Donald Trump," Chandra said.
Chandra then ran through a timeline of events involving CPPA's president Steve Loomis -- including highlighting an interview where Loomis said, "Tamir Rice is in the wrong." Chandra argued those comments were "false" and a "racist characterization of a black boy as being some sort of threatening monster."
Next month marks three years since Tamir was killed by Cleveland police outside the Cudell Rec Center where Tamir had been pointing a gun around.
That weapon turned out to be an airsoft gun with the orange tip removed.
“In September of 2016, Loomis attended a roundtable with Donald Trump," Chandra continued. "This was part of the CPPA cozying up to a white nationalist campaign that was engaged in overtly racist language. Then, in October 2016, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association -- over the objection of its African American officers and the Black Shield organization -- endorsed the manifestly racist Donald Trump. This is the same Donald Trump, who as recently as July of this year, in a public speech demanded that police officers use even more force and be rough on the suspects that they are arresting.”
Rice also noted the police union's treatment of her amid Tamir's death.
"To put it simple, the union’s current leadership acts like white supremacists," Rice said. "They do not believe that black lives matter, they have said so."
Rice also noted a tweet posted by Reed last weekend, suggesting that Rice is using her son's death for political purposes:
It’s truly a sad day in politics when the senseless killing of a 12yr old child is used as political ammunition.— Zack Reed (@zachreed12) October 14, 2017
"Please spare me, Zack Reed. If you were sympathetic, were sincere and you actually cared about my grief, then you would not have said that you were extremely honored to be endorsed by the Cleveland police union and Steve Loomis and his organization. That has insulted me and my family over and over again," Rice said.
Chandra also discussed the police department's response to NFL protests during the national anthem.
"The police union protested the Cleveland Browns anthem protest, which is, let us not forget, driven specifically by concerns about police misconduct. The union protested it by refusing to attend the game. What that means is, we know that the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association and Steve Loomis are openly hostile to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."
These are reasons Chandra and Rice want Reed to reject the endorsement.
“Doing so would not mean that he’s anti police, because there are good police officers who keep us safe every day," Chandra said. "What it would mean is that he is against a white nationalist police union that consorts with a white nationalist president and stands in opposition to ordinary Clevelanders. Zack Reed should give back any money he’s received from the police union, and he should insist that the police union should spend no money or resources supporting him.”
Reed's drunk driving history was also touched on.
“With his record of multiple drunk driving convictions, Zack Reed is compromised already," Chandra said. "So what happens the next time Cleveland police officers pull him over as mayor? After he heard about this scheduled press conference over the weekend, Zack Reed attacked Samaria Rice saying she’s being political. She isn’t.”
He also wants Reed to apologize to all victims of Cleveland police brutality. Rice echoed those sentiments.
"Reed should apologize to me and every victim of police conduct and every Clevelander for the bad judgment he showed by embracing the police union endorsement," Rice said.
Reed is squaring off against Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson for the city’s top political seat in the upcoming general election on Nov. 7.
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