Mothers of black men and women killed in several high-profile police-involved shootings are taking aim at the national Black Lives Matter organization and its outgoing co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, for profiting off the deaths of their loved ones and then ducking accountability.
The mothers of Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and others are lashing out just as Cullors steps down, accusing both BLM and Cullors of using their children’s deaths to raise money but failing to pass the money on to black families in need.
“I don’t believe she is going anywhere,” said Samaria Rice, the mother of 12-year-old Rice, who was shot by Cleveland, Ohio, police who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon, told the New York Post. “It’s all a facade. She’s only saying that to get the heat off her right now.”
Lisa Simpson, whose son was shot in Los Angeles, California, added. “Now she doesn’t have to show her accountability. She can just take the money and run.”
Cullors announced that she was stepping down from her position at the helm of the Black Lives Matter movement on Friday, following news that she engaged in a “real estate binge” that saw the BLM co-founder splash out more than $3 million on four private residences.
The Daily Caller also reported that Cullors “had used her position as the charity’s leader to funnel business to an art company led by the father of her only child. Charity experts said BLM’s arrangement with the art company, Trap Heals, amounts to self-dealing and raises ethical and legal questions.”
Cullors, though, claims her resignation is not the result of these controversies, telling media that the allegations “were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me.”
Rice and Simpson, though, told the Post that Cullors has problems with more than just the right. Rice told the Post that “she first sought out Cullors to enlist the group’s help in re-opening a federal investigation into her son’s 2014 death. She said she exchanged a few emails with Cullors over the years, but had never managed a face-to-face meeting.” Simpson said that Black Lives Matter raised $5000 for her son’s funeral but never delivered the check.
In a statement posted in March, the two women lashed out at BLM for leaving them “clueless and broken.”
“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police,” the pair 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. We don’t want or need y’all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken.”
Last month, Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, echoed the pair in a social media post of her own.
“I have never personally dealt with BLM Louisville and personally have found them to be fraud (sic),” Palmer wrote.