Family Of 74-Year-Old Robert Goodwin Fatally Shot During Live Stream Sues Facebook

(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Goodwin Family)

Family Of 74-Year-Old Robert Goodwin Fatally Shot During Live Stream Sues Facebook

The victim's daughter believes the social media company failed to alert law enforcement and prevent a death.

Published January 31, 2018

Last Easter, the tragic killing of Robert Godwin Sr., 74, was filmed and streamed to Facebook Live by a Cleveland man who later took his own life during a pursuit by police. Now the family of the victim has filed a lawsuit against the social media company for its negligence in the shooting. 

The lawsuit, filed by Godwin's daughter Debbie on behalf of the Godwin estate on Jan. 19, claims Facebook acted with "intentional, willful, malicious, in bad faith and in reckless disregard for the rights of Mr. Godwin,” reported CNN Money.

Before opening fire on Godwin, Steve Stephens announced his plan kill someone, according to the complaint, filed in Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts.

Stephens then recorded himself shooting Godwin and uploaded the video to Facebook. He then began streaming on Facebook Live, where he described the killing.

The lawsuit says Facebook has the ability to "cull, mine, analyze, and synthesize information" shared by its users in real time. The suit also claims Facebook "possessed this knowledge, and the ability to alert law enforcement, with more than sufficient time to act and prevent Robert Godwin, Sr.'s death.”

Video of Godwin’s murder remained online for more than two hours before Facebook removed the content.  In response to much criticism, the social media company said two hours had gone by before any users reported the video.

The complaint names other Facebook-owned companies as defendants, including ad serving platform Atlas Solutions and CrowdTangle, a content discovery tool.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Goodwin Family)


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