In a new twist, Carlos Moore announced Wednesday he is now going to return as co-counsel for the family of the man shot to death by Moss Point police now that a fellow attorney from The Cochran Firm in California has agreed to serve as lead counsel on the case.
The new lead attorney is Brian Dunn of Los Angeles. In addition, another law partner, James Bryant, is assisting, Moore said. Moore is a member of The Cochran Firm - Mississippi Delta, but his office is based in Grenada. He is also a municipal judge in Clarksdale.
“No one will fight harder to see that justice is served and that we get to the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Moore said, adding that Dunn, the manager partner of California, was personally trained in such cases by the late Johnny Cochran.
According to Dunn’s biography, he is a leading attorney in police misconduct litigation in California and in the last 24 months, he has prevailed in seven jury trial involving police misconduct.
On Tuesday, Moore said he was stepping down as attorney for Keena Sims because he is a first cousin of the family and did not want to give the appearance of any impropriety by representing them.
Sims’s son, 27-year-old Toussaint Diamon Sims, was shot and killed by a Moss Point police officer Thursday following a vehicle and foot chase.
Moore said he started having second thoughts after he reviewed what the officer’s attorney, Calvin Taylor, had to say about the shooting on Tuesday.
“Had I seen what Calvin Taylor had to say yesterday, I would not have withdrawn,” Moore said Wednesday. “When I started having second thoughts, I called Mr. Dunn and I told him about the eyewitnesses and the witnesses before and after the shooting.”
He said Dunn also reviewed what Taylor said about the shooting.
Moore and the Sims’ family have not been able to see the footage.
Taylor responded Wednesday to Moore’s return along with the addition of the California attorneys.
“I would like to say I’m quite comfortable with Mr. Moore getting back into the case,” Taylor said. As for the addition of the two out-of-state lawyers, Taylor said he would “look forward to showing them around.”
In previous years, Moore has also served as an attorney in other cases involving alleged police misconduct, including litigation on a behalf of the family of Antwum Shumpert, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by a Tupelo police officer in 2016.
In that case, Moore claimed he had evidence to support his allegations that the white officer shot and killed Shumpert without cause and mutilated his body. However, he was unable to produce the evidence during the litigation.
A federal judge accused Moore of grandstanding and subsequently sanctioned him, ordering Moore to pay a $3,000 fine plus other costs. In addition, the judge, according to the records, dismissed any claims against the Tupelo officer for wrongdoing.
Much like in the Sims’ case, Moore held numerous press conferences.
In the Shumpert case, Moore described what happened as a “modern day lynching” and an “execution” just as he’s alleged Sims was the victim of an “execution” and “cold-blooded murder” at the hands of white police officer.
The Sun Herald asked Moore about the Shumpert case and whether what what he was saying about Sims death and the evidence he says he’s collected is another case of him grandstanding or embellishing about what happened to Sims, a father of two, brother and son.
“After the judge sanctioned me, I was made a judge myself,” Moore said in response, noting that he paid the fine in the Shumpert case and went on to become a judge and experienced others promotions in his career as an attorney. None of that would have happened, he said, if he was doing anything improper.
“I’m a judge,” he said, “and I’m going to do everything by the book.”
Since Sims’s death last Thursday, the Sims’ family has served a legal notice of their intent to sue Police Chief Brandon Ashley and the city of Moss Point over the shooting death.They are seeking $10 million in damages.
According to Ashley, Sims was armed and threatening to shoot an officer when the killing occurred.
As of Wednesday, Moore said he has a total 16 witnesses, some of whom saw the actual shooting and others who saw what happened before and after the shooting.
The witness testimony, Moore said, including allegations that officer acted improperly after the shooting. In addition, he said he had a witness who said she saw Sims get shot and fall, and watched as an officer walker over to Sims’ body and fired additional rounds in his back.
When Moore announced he was stepping down as the Sims’ family attorney on Tuesday, he said he couldn’t make a fair assessment about the Moss Point shooting without the video.
“And without the video, I do not know the totality of what happened on that ... evening,” Moore said Tuesday.
Taylor has consistently stood by his statements that the Moss Point officer acted appropriately when he shot and killed Sims, a man wanted on felony charges and felony charges of aggravated domestic violence and fleeing charges.
In addition, Taylor said, Sims was wanted for questioning in two homicides in Moss Point.