The family of a shooting victim is suing 8chan and the killer’s family.
The family of a victim killed in an August mass shooting at an El Paso Wal-Mart is suing the accused gunman, his family and online imageboard 8chan.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in El Paso District Court by four relatives of Angelina Englisbee.
Englisbee was days away from her 87th birthday when she was killed in the shooting, which left 22 dead.
Law enforcement arrested 21-year old Patrick Crusius at the scene. He later told authorities that he’d driven all the way from Dallas, choosing El Paso as a target due to its predominately Hispanic character.
Hours before opening fire at Wal-Mart, Crusius posted a racist manifesto online. Among the sites Crusius uploaded the document to was 8chan.
The Englisbee family is suing 8chan along with three men associated with its operation: owner James Watksins, founder Fredrick Brennan and Cloudfare Chief Executive Matthew Prince.
According to the Englisbee family, 8chan and the three defendants ‘encouraged’ Crusius’ white nationalism and violent rampage. Their argument, it seems, is based largely off 8chan’s reputation. Formed as a sort of safe haven for views deemed too outrageous even for 4chan, the imageboard is known for its aggressive community of women-hating incels and alt-right extremists.
Prince, in fact, chose to sever Cloudfare service to 8chan in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting. He said his decision was made because “8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate.”
An attorney for the Englisbee family, James Scherr, noted that 8chan has been associated with other outrageous acts of violent. Brenton Tarrant—the Australian terrorist who killed 51 people at two New Zealand mosques—uploaded a manifesto to 8chan, too. He also used Facebook Live to stream his crimes.
“The children want the life and death of their mother to be meaningful,” Scherr said. “They want to send a message to stop the hate […] That these racist murderers will be held accountable, and everybody who’s aiding them and assisting them will be held accountable.”
Unfortunately, the Englisbee family’s suit appears to levy accusations bolstered by nothing more than baseless speculation. Along with charging Cloudfare’s founder with negligence, the Englisbee family is also going after Crusius’ parents and grandparents.
The logic, recounted by The Wall Street Journal, is that Crusius’ relatives are guilty of negligence because they “provided his education and training and were responsible for his supervision.”
Crusius, though, was 21 years old. And as other mass shootings have shown, the relatives of perpetrators were often unaware that their loved ones harbored homicidal thoughts or fantasies.
An attorney for the Crusius family, Chris Ayres, emphasized that same point.
“The reality is that this family, too, was shocked and stunned by these events,” Ayres said. “We believe the facts will show that the family did nothing other than provide Patrick the love, care, and support that any family would.”
Lawsuits filed by other victims have targeted Wal-Mart and Crusius himself, but the Englisbees’ is the first to go after 8chan or the shooter’s family.