Policing equipment provider ShotSpotter has filed a defamation complaint in the Superior Court of Delaware against VICE Media alleging defamatory and demonstrably false claims about the company.
ShotSpotter technology is used to alert police when gunshots are fired, helping them arrive at locations of possible shootings quickly.
The company is seeking to recover damages in excess of $300 million.
According to the complaint, VICE deliberately misrepresented court records and falsely accused the company of illegal behavior in a series of tweets, a podcast, and an article published by Motherboard. Additionally, ShotSpotter says that they refused to issue a retraction or include statements from the company when they were contacted.
In their publications, VICE alleged that ShotSpotter “analysts frequently modify alerts at the request of police departments—some of which appear to be grasping for evidence that supports their narrative of events.”
“VICE’s reporting and related social media grossly misrepresented how ShotSpotter carefully and faithfully prepares court-admissible forensic evidence and expert witness testimony for criminal shooting proceedings,” said Ralph Clark, President and CEO of ShotSpotter, in a statement provided to Timcast. “ShotSpotter’s forensic evidence has been used in over 190 court cases across the country and no court has ever found that ShotSpotter altered or fabricated evidence. Our gunshot detection technology is trusted by more than 120 cities to help first responders get to crime scenes quickly, save lives, and collect critical evidence.”
Clark continued, “We provided evidence and court records to VICE that debunked their false claims. We hoped that they would retract their false reporting, but they chose not to, and we are forced to set the record straight by filing this complaint.”
ShotSpotter legal counsel Tom Clare, Partner at Clare Locke LLP said in a statement provided to Timcast that VICE “knowingly created a fictional tale that ShotSpotter conspired with police to frame innocent people.”
“To spin its yarn, it knowingly misrepresented court records and concealed facts that rebutted its claims. They propagated these lies through social media, spreading harmful disinformation that undermined trust in ShotSpotter that has been built over the past 25 years with the criminal justice system and communities at large. We will hold them accountable,” Clare continued.
ShotSpotter President and CEO Ralph Clark and lead counsel Tom Clare will be holding a press conference on October 12th, 2021, at 1:00 PM EST in Washington, D.C. to further address the lawsuit.