Dallas DART Officer Hurt in Ambush Suing Social Sites

Alan Scaia
February 14, 2019 - 1:25 pm
Police

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer who was shot during the ambush downtown on July 7, 2016 is suing Facebook, Google and Twitter. Jesus Retana was injured but survived.

He is suing the sites, saying the gunman was radicalized by a message the sites allowed Hamas to post. The lawsuit says Hamas has been able to spread "extremist propaganda." 

"These companies should not a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card," says Retana's lawyer, Keith Altman. "It's important they be held accountable to act reasonably, just like you and I and everybody else do."

Altman says social media sites profit from usage by terror groups, so they have no motivation to stop terror groups from spreading a terrorist message.

In 2016, Congress passed a measure that allows legal action against any company or person who "conspires to commit or aids and abets an act of international terrorism." Altman says the sites may disable some accounts but those groups will simply start new accounts.

"These people are looking for no more funerals. Nobody should lose a family member or a friend to a terrorist attack," he says.

Altman has filed similar lawsuits. In January, a judge dismissed a lawsuit Altman filed on behalf of the families and victims of the San Bernardino attack. In that case, the judge ruled social media sites may be "generally aware" that ISIS was using their sites, but he saw no evidence the sites tried to help the group.

In 2017, Altman filed a lawsuit on behalf of another Dallas police officer over the ambush. Sgt Demetrick Pennie was not injured, but he did respond to the shooting.

Altman says the sites were aiding and abetting the gunman and providing material support for terrorism. The judge dismissed that case with prejudice, ruling that there was no basis to conclude any support from the defendants was a substantial factor in the attack.