BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Attorneys for the families of the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at Tops, say they will take legal action against gun manufacturers and social media companies, and anyone they feel was neglectful before the mass shooting.
The Reverend Al Sharpton has joined that call for accountability. He visited the Tops on Jefferson Avenue and met with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Tops employees.
Sharpton and attorneys for the victims’ families are making a push not only for stricter gun laws in the U.S. but for a hate crime bill that protects African Americans to be passed.
Sharpton says the organization he founded, the National Action Network will provide financial support to the families.
“They will never recover from what happened, there will always be an empty seat at their table, their holidays will be hollow and the whole country must stand and let them know that enough is enough,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton and the families are calling on President Joe Biden to hold a summit on hate crimes to address what Sharpton calls “an era of hate.” They’re demanding that a Black Hate Crime bill be passed in Washington, similar to the legislation that was passed to support Asian Americans.
“There’s been no real national legislation, there’s been no real addressing of how we’re going to monitor and stop this in advance,” Sharpton said, “I’m glad the president came, but we got to do more than come, we got to stop this and we got to stand with these families.”
The nationally-recognized criminal defense attorney is also representing the families.
“Why is it we can’t get some federal legislation passed to say that we need to have an anti-black hate crime bill too because our lives matter just as much as any other life,” Crump said.
Attorneys for the families are making every indication legal action will be taken against anyone they feel are at fault or didn’t see warning flags, such as gun manufacturers and social media companies.
“We’re going to accomplish the goals for each and every one of you, we’re going to fight for you, we’re going to fight for all of your families,” said Terry Connors, criminal defense attorney, “We’re going to make sure that we honor the legacy of these people who died so tragically.”
That legacy could lead to changes in laws or policy. Attorneys for the families say the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which is based in Washington, D.C., will also assist the families of the victims with free legal representation.
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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.