Takes a Big Bite Out of Crime, says McGruff’s Watchdog Group
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Snapchat will need to answer to a judge and jury for its role in the sale of fake drugs containing lethal amounts of fentanyl, a California judge ruled late yesterday.
The ruling is part of a major civil lawsuit filed by the parents of dozens of children who died from fentanyl-laced drugs purchased off the social media platform. The company, Snap Inc., had tried to argue that it was protected from liability by a federal internet communication law, which shields the owners of platforms from the content users post on those sites.
“This is a major victory in the fentanyl fight,” said National Crime Prevention Council Executive Director Paul DelPonte. “The Snap argument was nothing more than a smoke screen trying to hide drug deals behind a law designed to protect free speech. The law was never intended to be a get-out-of-jail-free card for drug dealers. The judge didn’t buy the argument and now the company will have to answer to a jury of its peers.”
The case was originally filed in 2022 by Amy Neville, who lost her son Alexander at age 14 to a fake pill purchased from a dealer on Snapchat. The ruling by the Los Angeles County Superior Court potentially opens Snap to potentially pay the victims’ families millions of dollars for wrongful death.
“This is an important ruling for decency in the protection of children and families from ‘an anything goes culture’ that has fueled an unprecedented surge of drug deaths,” DelPonte said. “Allowing the civil trial to proceed will also provide useful evidence to federal and state officials to explore criminal prosecutions.”
NCPC has been highly critical of the social media platform’s structural design that enables faceless drug deals with disappearing text messages and other features that make it difficult for law enforcement to catch dealers. The national nonprofit organization is best known for its educational campaigns featuring McGruff the Crime Dog®. The organization works closely with Neville and other family members to draw national attention to the fentanyl crisis with the livesproject.org and new television advertisements raising awareness about the growing dangers of fake drugs.
About the National Crime Prevention Council
The nonprofit National Crime Prevention Council is home to McGruff the Crime Dog® and has helped generations of Americans Take A Bite Out Of Crime® through public education campaigns and advocating for public policies to make the U.S. safer. Follow NCPC on Threads, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X (@McGruffatNCPC).
Contact: Tatiana Peralta, (202) 919-4222
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SOURCE National Crime Prevention Council