Three weeks ago, a disturbed young man named Robert Hawkins killed eight people along with himself during a rampage at Omaha’s Westroads Mall.
While most of those searching for a cause have focused on Hawkins’ mental health history and troubled past, Miami attorney Jack Thompson sees a video game connection.
Thompson contacted GamePolitics today to say that he was filing a lawsuit against Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren (left) in regard to the case. Apparently the cops in Omaha haven’t been impressed by Thompson’s video game theories and the controversial attorney wants to force the issue. In his court filing, Thompson writes:
These [rampages] have occurred, in part… because of the advent of extremely violent interactive media (video games) consumed by adolescents and teens who use these murder simulation devices to rehearse and prepare for these murderous assaults.
Any particular game in mind, Jack?
Some of the Grand Theft Auto games, which are wildly popular among individuals such as Robert Hawkins, feature what are known as “mall rampages” by which the player can rehearse, for hours on end, entering shopping malls and shooting at random individuals therein.
But, Jack, does this lawsuit mean that the Omaha police are not buying into your theory?
Anyone in law enforcement who does not understand or care to understand the direct causal link between violent video game play and these types of random killing events is living in a dream world…
[The] Police Chief of Omaha… refuses to provide to Thompson… the inventory list of items taken, by search warrant, from Robert Hawkins’ residence.
Thompson has served a written request, pursuant to Nebraska Statute 84-712, upon Police Chief Thomas Warren, and he refuses to comply with his legal duty, under Nebraska law, to provide the inventory.
Although it’s not clear how, Thompson maintains that Chief Warren’s refusal somehow puts others at risk:
In refusing to comply with the law, defendant Warren demonstrably puts at public safety risk residents of Nebraska and elsewhere…
Thompson has also been interviewed concerning this suit by Omaha’s KETV-7 for its 10PM news broadcast. GP has also heard from Ryan Miller, a vice-president with Gamers, a Midwest game retailer. Miller said that he, too, was interviewed by way of counterpoint.
Meanwhile, Thompson attempted to post a message regarding the lawsuit on the comments section of GamePolitics:
I am… well on my way to destroying [GTA publisher] Take-Two. Tonight’s broadcast is just part of the plan.
GP: We’re a bit puzzled by Thompson’s action since Nebraska’s public records disclosure law appears to specifically exempt police investigation files. The following are not subject to public release according to the statute:
Records developed or received by law enforcement agencies and other public bodies with duties of investigation or examination when the records are part of the examination, investigation, intelligence information, citizen complaints, informant identification, or information used in law enforcement training.
UPDATE: Thompson has advised GP that in place of the lawsuit he originally forwarded to us, he has filed a writ (MS Word format) with the Fourth District Court of Nebraska. His intent remains the same: to compel Chief Warren to reveal the results of the Hawkins search.