BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Relatives of those killed or wounded in last year’s Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket shooting said on Wednesday about the attack by the shooter fueled by racist conspiracy theories on social media platforms. and arms retailers are jointly responsible. I met him online.
“They were co-conspirators, even if they didn’t want to admit it,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a press conference announcing the 171-page lawsuit.
The lawsuit names multiple online platforms, including Meta, Instagram, Amazon, Google and Discord, as well as the maker of the bulletproof vest worn by the shooter and the gun retailer that sold the gun.
Peyton Gendron was 18 years old when he drove 200 miles (322 km) from his home in Conklin, New York, and opened fire at Tops Friendly Market, a black buffalo-majority area he researched online. . Ten black people were killed and three other victims were injured.
Gendron pleaded guilty to hate-motivated murder and domestic terrorism, and is serving a life sentence without parole.
“Peyton Gendron pulled the trigger, but did it because years of exposure to addictive social media platforms led him to radicalize and commit this heinous attack. I encouraged them via the internet to buy weapons and bulletproof vests for the sake of the victims,” the paper said. litigation.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages. Gendron’s surviving victims and their relatives also said they want changes in how the company operates.
The mother of surviving victim Zaire Goodman said in a video that went viral after live-streaming Gendron’s rampage using a camera attached to the helmet he was wearing, “tagging I explained that it was done.
“No one should see it,” Zeneta Everhart said.
Goodman, who was 19 when he was shot, worked at the store. Other victims included a church deacon, a store security guard, a father who had come to buy his son’s birthday cake, the grandmother of nine children, and the mother of a former Buffalo Fire Chief.
Following the lawsuit, a Google-owned YouTube spokeswoman said the company invested in technology and policies to identify and remove extremist content.
“We work regularly with law enforcement, other platforms and civil society to share information and best practices,” Jose Castañeda said in an emailed statement to the Associated Press. .
Other companies named in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.
Buffalo attorney Terrence Connors said: “We looked at the entire gun distribution, bulletproof vest manufacturers, apparently illegal high-capacity magazines, and we also looked at online digital platforms.” Crump said at a press conference on behalf of his family.
“What we found was absolutely terrifying,” he said.
The lawsuit, which also names Gendron’s parents, Paul and Pamela Gendron, alleges that Gendron armed his son despite showing signs of danger.
Lawyers for the Gendrons did not respond to requests for comment.
“There were a lot of people who helped him load the gun,” Crump said. “And our aim is to make sure that everyone who loaded that gun is held accountable.”