A lawsuit claiming that Twitter, Google, and Facebook helped to radicalize Micah Johnson, the shooter who killed five police officers in Dallas last year, has been dismissed.
The Washington Times reports that the lawsuit was filed by Dallas police officer Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, who responded to the shooting of five officers in Dallas in May 2016. He sued the three companies, claiming that their platforms provided material support to the terrorist group Hamas, directly leading to Johnson’s radicalization.
The father of Patrick Zamarripa, one of the five victims of Johnson’s shooting in Dallas, joined Pennie in the lawsuit in June. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero dismissed the lawsuit, claiming it failed to show a direct link between Johnson and the terrorist group Hamas.
“Although Plaintiffs’ theory of how Defendants support Hamas is relatively clear, the connection between that support and the Dallas shooting is not,” wrote Spero in the ruling. “Absent plausible allegations that Hamas itself was in some way a substantial factor in the attack, there is no basis to conclude that any support provided by defendants to Hamas was a substantial factor.”
The lawsuit claimed that by allowing members of Hamas, a group recognized as a terrorist organization under U.S. law, the websites directly aided the group. However, Judge Spero responded on Monday that plaintiffs “do not meaningfully allege that Hamas itself carried out the attack, or even that it intended for such an attack to occur.”
“Instead, they allege that other Palestinians and Palestinian organizations (whom Plaintiffs vaguely characterize as ‘Hamas sympathizers and member’) expressed general support for groups protesting police violence against African Americans … including some such groups that have staged protests or rallies where speakers or demonstrators called for killing police officers,” he stated.
It has previously been ruled by federal judges that under the U.S. Communications Decency Act, social media companies cannot be held liable for information posted by third-party users.