The family of Robert Godwin Sr. has filed a lawsuit against Facebook after the video of his shooting and death was uploaded to the social media network.
According to USA Today, the lawsuit, filed on Jan. 19, alleges the company was negligent and failed to warn authorities of a possible threat.
On Easter Sunday 2017 (Apr. 16), Steve Stephens shot and killed Godwin at close range and then uploaded the video to the social network. Two days after the shooting and a consequent nationwide manhunt, Stephens was found dead in Erie County, Pennsylvania after he shot and killed himself.
Originally, police claimed Stephens had exclusively posted the shooting to Facebook live but it was later realized he posted the footage to his Facebook account. Despite the social media sites “sophisticated algorithms” the horrific video spent 23 minutes online before Facebook was notified and took it down.
Facebook’s founder and creator, Mark Zuckerberg, issued a statement during the company’s annual developer conference saying that his “heart goes out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr.‘ and that they will keep making internal changes to “prevent tragedies like this from happening again.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in addition to costs, expenses and attorney fees, as well as “any further relief” that the court “may deem appropriate.”