The family of a man murdered by the so-called “Facebook Killer” is now suing Facebook for negligence, failure to warn, and wrongful death.
Robert Godwin, 74, was shot and killed by Steve Stephens, 37, on April 16, 2017, Easter Sunday.
Stephens said in a Facebook video that he was going to kill people and claimed to have already murdered 15 people. However, police later refuted those claims.
Stephens was seen in a video holding up an ID card for a mental health clinic where he claimed to be a case manager before he went on to film the shooting. Godwin, according to police, was chosen at random by Stephens before he was shot and killed on the sidewalk.
The video was removed from Facebook, but it was live for over two hours.
Days later, Stephens was found dead of an apparent suicide in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The family files suit
Now, as of January 19, the family has filed suit, claiming that Facebook “was intentional, willful, malicious, in bad faith and in reckless disregard for the right of Mr. Godwin,” according to Complex.
The lawsuit claims that Facebook didn’t act to keep people safe from Stephens when he posted his threat to kill people. They also didn’t act to take down the video of Godwin’s murder in a timely manner, according to the lawsuit.
Because of Facebook’s inaction, the family is now seeking $25,000 in damages and legal fees.
In response, Facebook gave a statement to Fox 8:
“We want people to feel safe using Facebook, which is why we have policies in place prohibiting direct threats, attacks, serious threats of harm to public and personal safety and other criminal activity. We give people tools to report content that violates our policies, and take swift action to remove violating content when it’s reported to us. We sympathize with the victim’s family, who suffered such a tragic and senseless loss.”