MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - In an about-face from Monday’s news conference, the attorney representing the family of Toussaint Diamon Sims announced Tuesday morning that he would withdraw the $10 million lawsuit he initially intended to file.
Carlos Moore and Sims’ family met Tuesday morning with District Attorney Angel Myers-McIlrath. Immediately after that meeting on the steps of the county courthouse, Moore announced that he would not be filing the lawsuit and would be withdrawing as counsel for Sims’ family.
“As a relative of Mrs. Sims, I have decided to withdraw from the case. I believe I am at a severe disadvantage not knowing all of the evidence. While I have spoken to several eye witnesses, I have not been privy to the video. and since there is a video I cannot determine exactly what happened at the moment of the shooting. So while the officer’s attorney has seen the video, as the family attorney I am not allowed to see the video and I cannot do my job properly without all the evidence before me...so no lawsuit will be filed by me.”
Thanking the district attorney and her staff, Moore said Meyers-McIlrath explained to the family that all of the evidence would be presented to a grand jury, who would then determine whether the shooting was justified or if there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the officer.
“I’ve decided it’s in the best interest of the family to hire a non-relative to be their attorney and someone who has all of the evidence available to them to make a complete decision," Moore continued. “I don’t have that at this time and it’s been made clear to me that I will not get the video. And as an officer of the court, not only as an attorney but as a judge in Clarksdale, I cannot do my job without all of the evidence.”
He continued: "I’ve asked several times for the video. It’s not going to be made available, and so I’m withdrawing from the case. I wish my family well. If the video comports with what the witnesses say, I’m sure they will find someone to take their case. If the video is different from what the witnesses says, then things may turn out different. But someone has to have a complete picture. Until that complete picture is known I ask the community to remain calm and prayerful and just let the system play out as it may.”
“I believe this is the first time representing a family of the an individual that was somewhat related to me. I believe it’s incumbent in these types of cases to have someone not related to the family to be there for them and be dispassionate...”
“As an officer of the court, I have to look at all of the evidence and make an independent assessment on what the evidence shows. Since I can’t see the video, I am not going to continue to base my opinion off of eyewitness testimonies... The video is the best evidence and if I can’t see that, I can’t be confident one way or the other whether the shooting was justified or unjustified.”
Moore said all of the witnesses names and any video they have were turned over to the district attorney’s office. Myers-McIlrath released a statement shortly after Moore left her office saying:
“Today, I had the opportunity to meet with the mother of Toussaint Sims. As District Attorney, not only is it my duty to prosecute those who violate the laws of the state of Mississippi, but I also have the duty to explain the court system and process to families. I appreciated the opportunity to explain to her the laws of this state and the process of the criminal justice system. Understandably, there were questions I was not able to answer at this point, given the prohibitions under the Rules of Professional Conduct, but I assured her, and I assure the public that questions will be answered after a thorough investigation has been completed. I ask for patience and cooperation with this investigation instead of narratives that promote divisiveness. I assured the family and I assure the public that my office will follow the law on this and every case.”
Moore announced Monday during a news conference on the steps of City Hall that he would file a wrongful death lawsuit. A notice of claim letter provided to WLOX notified the city that Sims’ family would file a $10 million lawsuit against Moss Point, Mayor Mario King, Police Chief Brandon Ashley and the officer accused of shooting Sims after 90 days pending the result of the family’s investigation.