It’s been almost six months since Robert Lewis Dear opened fire at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, taking three lives and wounding many others. While the shooter himself has been deemed “incompetent to stand trial,” Planned Parenthood itself may have to face some consequences for the violent attack.
According to Reuters, the widow of one of the men fatally shot by Robert Dear is suing Planned Parenthood, claiming they are liable for the death of her husband because they could have prevented the tragedy. The lawsuit claims the clinic had poor security, which is inexcusable since Planned Parenthood clinics have a “long history of violence,” due to the controversy of abortions.
Ashley Stewart, the wife of victim Ke’ Arere Stewart and a surviving victim, Samantha Wagner, both filed the suit on Friday at the Denver District Court. While Robert Dear was the one who shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic on November 27, the plaintiffs say the organization failed to implement safeguards that could have saved lives.
“[Planned Parenthood] provided little or no security… such as an armed guard and perimeter fencing, as they do in other clinics,” the lawsuit reads. “It provided no signs, posters, verbal or any other type of warning describing the risk of physical harm, injury or death associated with entering [Planned Parenthood] properties.”
According to the Denver Post, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains are listed as defendants in the lawsuit and are accused of “negligence” and “outrageous conduct” regarding the Robert Dear shooting.
Ashley Stewart is seeking justice for the wrongful death of her husband Ke’ Arere, who was killed near the entrance of the clinic that day. Samantha Wagner is seeking monetary compensation to pay for her medical bills after Robert Dear shot her in the arm, shattering her humerus. She claims she now suffers from “permanent physical impairment.”
The women have hired attorney Kirk McCormick to present their case.
“Because of the long history of violence, these types of terrible attacks are, in a way, not random,” said McCormick. “They are predictable. We believe that this tragedy could have been prevented if Planned Parenthood had had adequate security in place.”
The widow and the victim noted that the clinic Robert Dear attacked had considerably less security than other locations, lacking an armed security guard at the time of the shooting. The clinic also had no fences or restricted access security checkpoints to enter the facility, nor did they have security cameras monitoring the perimeter. The lawsuit also claims employees should have been better trained for crisis situations.
Whitney Phillips, the spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, released a statement claiming the clinic did all they could to ensure the safety of their patrons and staff.
“The violent attack of Nov. 27, 2015, had a tremendous impact on our staff, our patients and our larger community. Although we cannot comment on ongoing litigation, we believe that our health centers throughout the Rocky Mountains region are both safe and inviting for our patients and our staff who care for them.”
Meanwhile, Robert Lewis Dear is facing 179 criminal charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder. He has confessed to shooting people at the clinic in defense of unborn babies but has not entered a plea. The courts determined he does not have the mental capacity to understand the proceedings of the trial.
Do you think it’s fair for Planned Parenthood to face legal consequences over the fatal shooting on November 27?
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