A transit officer wounded during the 2016 ambush in downtown Dallas that claimed the lives of five other officers has filed a suit against Google, Twitter and Facebook, alleging the social media sites allowed a terrorist organization to incite the attack on their platforms.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Jesus Retana in a lawsuit filed this week said the websites helped “radicalize” gunman Micah Johnson by “knowingly and recklessly” giving the group, Hamas, “a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits.”
According to the lawsuit, providing such groups unlimited access to their platforms “has enabled [Hamas] to carry out numerous terrorist attacks, including the July 7, 2016 shooting of Dallas Police officers.”
Johnson fatally shot five officers and wounded nine others amid protests over the police killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota — both of which had unfolded just days earlier.
Retana was shot in the arm and required surgery to have the bullet removed
The shooter was killed in an explosion set off by authorities, who used a robot to administer the fatal blast.
Johnson, who previously served in the Army Reserve, had no confirmed links to Hamas.
“Without Defendants Twitter, Facebook and Google (YouTube), Hamas’ ability to radicalize and influence individuals to conduct terrorist operations outside the Middle East would not have been possible,” the suit contends. “Like Hamas, Defendants also allow ISIS to use their sites conduct terrorist operations.”
Attorney Keith Altman, who is representing Retana, previously filed a similar suits against social networks over other attacks, including the 2015 Paris attack, the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Bastille Day attack in France, according to the Star-Telegram. And a lawsuit filed in 2017 also took aim at the social media giants, alleging they should be held liable for the police shooting in Dallas.
Twitter declined a request for comment while Facebook and Google did not immediately respond.
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