Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge, 1992
The shooting of an unarmed woman holding her baby in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 continues to follow San Diego County sheriff Bill Gore around and that goes for social media sites. Gore, according to a federal lawsuit, continues to dodge questions about the day’s events.
On October 27, Dimitrios Karras filed a federal complaint alleging that Sheriff Gore and his staff deleted comments he posted to the sheriff department's Facebook page, thus violating his right to free speech.
Karras posted his comment on September 2, 2014. It read:
"Sheriff Gore: Do you plead the 5th about your involvement in the MURDER of an unarmed woman who was holding her baby? REMEMBER RUBY RIDGE.”
Within an hour, the comment was removed and Karras was informed that he was not allowed to post any more comments on to the sheriff's Facebook fan page.
More than 22 years have elapsed since the FBI standoff at Randy Weaver's cabin in Ruby Ridge. At the time, Gore served as the bureau chief in Seattle, the lead office in charge of the standoff. Weaver, a white separatist facing gun charges, was holed up in the cabin along with his wife Vicki, infant daughter, and a man named Kevin Harrison.
Days before the seige, a gun battle occurred between FBI agent Michael Degan and Weaver, Harrison, and Weaver's 14-year-old son Sammy as they walked in the woods near the cabin. Weaver's son along with agent Degan were killed during the shootout. The men retreated back to the cabin where they stayed while agents surrounded the cabin.
The next day, Weaver and Harrison tried to leave to find a burial place for the deceased boy. During another shootout that ensued, Weaver's wife Vicki was shot and killed while holding her baby daughter. The men later surrendered. The FBI soon came under scrutiny for the tactics used and the murder of an unarmed woman. Gore denied that he gave the shooter the green light. He refused to testify at a congressional hearing.
Two decades later, people such as Karras still want an answer from Gore; Facebook proved to be no means of getting one, either.
"Despite receiving Plaintiff’s letter, and being on notice of First Amendment violations, Defendants continue to cherry-pick comments on the Sheriff’s Department Facebook fan page in order to cultivate a self-serving political image," reads the federal lawsuit. "Defendants continue to punish those that fail to conform to the government message by banning them from further discussion."
Karras claims that in addition to censorship, the sheriff's department is wasting valuable resources monitoring the Facebook page.
He is asking that a judge issue a restraining order which will prohibit deputies and administrators from censoring public comments. In addition, Karras asks that his comments be posted to the page as well as monetary relief.
A hearing date has not been set. The sheriff's department did not respond to a request for comment.