Lovers of those killed in a 2022 racially motivated grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York, said Wednesday that a social media company, a gun manufacturer and a bulletproof vest manufacturer are all teenagers. , claiming to have helped 100 young people, and filed what lawyers described as a “groundbreaking” lawsuit. Murderer: “Please load the gun.”
The lawsuit, filed in the Buffalo Supreme Court, names several large tech companies as defendants, including Facebook parent company Meta. Amazon, Instagram, Reddit, and his YouTube parent company, his Google. Endicott, N.Y. gun dealer Vintage Firearms, which legally purchased the semi-automatic Bushmaster XM-15 used in the assault by shooter Peyton Gendron, and sold body armor to Mr. Gendron. RMA Armament, Inc., an online company that filed the lawsuit, was also named as a defendant.
Websites and apps such as 4Chan, Discord and Twitch were named as defendants, as well as Gendron’s parents, Paul and Pamela Gendron.
“Peyton Gendron pulled the trigger, but did so after years of exposure to addictive social media platforms, which led to his radicalization and this vicious attack. I encouraged people to buy weapons and bulletproof vests through the Internet to do so.” He argues in lawsuits.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and the social media platform in question to “correct unreasonably unsafe features of its social media products and prevent minor users and parents from It seeks a court-ordered injunction requiring “sufficient warning that the product is addictive and may pose a hazard.” To an unsuspecting minor, it’s obvious and dangerous. ”
National Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, one of the victims’ family’s attorneys, said at a news conference Wednesday that the case seeks justice for the 10 people killed at a Tops supermarket on May 14, 2022. said it was a new step for east of Buffalo.
“Even though Peyton Gendron opened fire, killing all his loved ones and seriously injuring others, there were many people who helped him load his gun,” Crump said. said. “Our aim was…to make sure everyone who loaded that gun was held accountable. They were co-conspirators.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of 55-year-old shooting victim Aaron Salter Jr. Margus Morrison Jr., 52 years old. Roberta Drury, 32 years old. Pearl Young, 77 years old. Geraldine Tully, 65 years old. Hayward Patterson, 67 years old. At 86, Ruth Whitfield is the oldest murder victim. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Topps employees Christopher Braeden, 56, and Zaire Goodman, 21, who were injured in the shooting.
A similar lawsuit was filed in May, naming many of the same companies as defendants on behalf of Patterson’s family member Catherine “Kat” Massey, 72. And Andre McNeil (53).
Kim Salter, the widow of Aaron Salter, a former Buffalo police officer and Tops Inc. security guard who died confronting Gendron during the massacre, said the other families who lost her and loved ones are still mourning. said he was.
“We live with this situation every day, every moment of the day,” Kim Salter, the lead plaintiff in the new lawsuit, said at a press conference on Wednesday. “I stand here still mourning the death of his husband. He sacrificed his life not only for his family, but for many people. and respect my husband.”
Last October, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office said several online platforms, including some of the platforms named in the lawsuit filed Wednesday, had launched a large amount of racist and violent material. Released a report alleging he was involved in the Buffalo shootings by radicalizing the ingested gendron. And to allow live streaming of the deadly attack on the Amazon-owned website Twitch. James’ report claimed that Twitch was “weaponized” to promote and encourage copycat attacks.
Gendron pleaded guilty in November to 15 counts, including murder and attempted murder. He is the first person in state history to be charged with hate-motivated domestic terrorism and has pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in February.
At the sentencing hearing, Gendron, now 19, apologized to the victim’s family and claimed he had been brainwashed by online racist propaganda, saying he “believed what he read online and acted out of hatred.”
Gendron is still facing federal hate crime charges stemming from the shooting. Federal prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the death penalty.
Amy Keller, another attorney representing the family in the latest lawsuit, accused the companies named in the lawsuit, saying, “They put profit before people. He detailed how the media company knew there was a problem and lost the case.” to deal with it.
A Google spokesperson told ABC News that the company made a statement in May when the victim’s family filed the previous lawsuit.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and their families of the horrific attack at Tops Grocery in Buffalo last year,” Google said in a statement. “Over the years, YouTube has invested in technology, teams and policies to identify and remove extremist content. and share best practices.”
Other companies named in the lawsuit did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
RMA Armament told ABC News in May, when the previous lawsuit included the company, that it was surprised to be included in the lawsuit and that the allegations were baseless.
“RMA weapons products are intended to protect law-abiding civilians, police departments and government partners,” RMA President Blake Waldrop said in a statement to ABC News. “We are surprised to be named in this lawsuit and believe the allegations are baseless. We understand that this has been a difficult and painful year for the family and the Buffalo community. .”
Meta previously identified more than 1,151 “militarized social movements”, mainly related to the far-right conspiracy group QAnon, as of August 15, 2022, about 4,200 pages, 20,800 groups, 200 events, 59,800 announced that it had deleted 8,900 Facebook profiles and 8,900 Instagram accounts. account. “We will continue to step up enforcement by identifying new terms related to further militarized social movements and QAnon,” Mehta said. “We will continue to consult with experts to inform our strategy and identify and remove content accordingly.”
Discord also issued a statement shortly after the shooting, saying, “We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and their families and will do everything in our power to assist law enforcement with their investigation.”