Cleveland, OH

Mother of murdered 9-Year-Old Wants to Hold Parents and Elected Officials Accountable

Brown on Cleveland
Marshawnette Daniels and her daughter SaniyahCourtesy of Marshawnette Daniels

Cleveland, OH. - Marshawnette Daniels, the mother of Saniyah Nicholson, is tired of being quiet. Daniels wants to hold parents and elected officials accountable for the behavior of juveniles up to the age of 21. "These kids are out of control, and the parents must be responsible for their children. Judges should also be held accountable. They are making decisions to give third and fourth chances to be who have already proved to be a menace to society", says Daniels.

Daniels lost her daughter to gun violence three years ago. Saniyah and her adult sister were eating ice cream in their mom's car when gunfire erupted on Lee Road in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the bullets penetrated the car's rear and struck and killed nine-year-old Saniyah. The perpetrators of the crime were under 21 - the youngest being 15. Seven males are facing charges for the death of Saniyah.

For the last 3.5 years, Daniels has been trying to get the attention of lawmakers. She has had meetings with several public officials, but none appeared interested. Daniels stated, "I have met with a state of Ohio Senator and several Mayors. It seems as if they were fearful. They did not want to rock the boat. The senator promised a meeting with Governor DeWine, which never happened. Crime is drastically increasing; young people are the perpetrators, and judges could protect community members if they stop giving multiple chances to individuals with a rap sheet. If Mayor Justin Bibb is concerned about the welfare of our community, he will address this issue. I need to have a meeting with him, the police chief, and the safety director".

According to the Ohio Revised Code, "under Section 3109.09, a parent (or legal guardian) can be liable for up to $10,000, plus reimbursement of the claimant's cost of taking the matter to court if a minor in the parent's custody willfully damages property belonging to another. In an article written by journalist Robert Mules, Mules reports parents could be held liable for the actions of their children. Mules looked at the Ohio Family Law Blog published by Dayton Attorneys: Mues, Cecil, and McKnight. There are five general areas in which Ohio regulates parental responsibility:

  1. PERSONAL INJURY BY ASSAULT: In Ohio, a parent can be sued civilly and held liable for the willful assault of their minor child if the force is likely to produce great bodily harm. This ability does not extend to accidental injuries. The parents' liability is limited to $10,000, plus court costs.
  2. PROPERTY DAMAGE & THEFT: A parent (or legal guardian) can be liable, just as in number 1 above, for up to $10,000, plus reimbursement of the claimant's cost of taking the matter to court, if a minor in the parent's custody willfully damages property belonging to another.
  3. DRIVING: A parent needs to think twice about signing a driver's license application or permit. In Ohio, if a minor child commits an act of negligence or willful or wanton misconduct while driving a motor vehicle, the adult who signed the minor's application may be held financially responsible for the resulting damage.
  4. LIABILITY FOR VANDALISM, DESECRATION, OR ETHNIC INTIMIDATION: If a child commits willful acts of vandalism, desecration, or ethnic intimidation, the person who suffers the loss can seek recovery from the offender's parents up to $15,000, plus reimbursement of court-related expenses and attorney's fees.
  5. NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION OF YOUR CHILD: Ohio common law also imposes liability on parents in situations independent of the above-referenced statutes.

Marshawnette Daniels continues to be a staunch advocate of holding parents and elected officials accountable. "I raised children because it is my responsibility. I am doing what I am supposed to do, and if everyone else did what they were supposed to do, we probably would not have all these kids committing crimes - the murders and carjackings are ridiculous".

Before Covid, Daniels toured community centers and local schools, speaking with youth, several councilmembers, mayors, and community leaders. Daniels is an avid supporter of Saniyah's AWE Law, identifying community high crime areas. "The public has a right to know, parental responsibility is critical, and elected officials must be held accountable for their decisions. After all, they were elected to serve, and they need to do just that," stated Daniels.

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"Brown On Cleveland" features podcast host, licensed social worker, and social justice activist Kimberly F. Brown. Former talk show host with WOVU.95fm. Brown is the Chief Administrator of The Brown Report Newspaper. Brown experience is with investigative reporting.

Cleveland, OH

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