A woman whose son was killed in a tornado criticizes Amazon

Deon January, center, wipes tears from her eyes as she speaks about her son DeAndre Morrow during a press conference in Edwardsville, Illinois on May 3, 2022.

David Carson/St. Louis Post-Shipping via AP

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The mother of a man who was killed in December when a tornado slammed into an Amazon facility in Illinois said Tuesday her son was only in the building because he had been called to work on his day off.

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“It breaks my heart that DeAndre was supposed to take his day off but was called off dispatch to work an extra shift,” said DeAndre Morrow’s mother Deon January.

January, whose son was one of six people killed Dec. 10 when the tornado wiped out nearly half of the sprawling community facility in Edwardsville, southwestern Illinois, appeared with attorney Ben Crump, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf.

“We believe (the tragedy) was completely preventable if Amazon kept its words,” said Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney whose clients have included the families of George Floyd and, more recently, the family. of Patrick Lyoya, who was shot and killed last month by a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “And those words were ‘We aim to be the safest workplace on Earth. We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Amazon employees every day. ”

Crump and January were joined by several others, including four people who survived the tornado at the facility, and said they now have PTSD, according to a KSDK TV report in St. Louis.

The press briefing comes after the January trial and at least two others have been filed. The lawsuits alleged that Amazon forced people to stay at work until moments before the tornado hit and that the deceased employees were improperly directed to shelter in a break room that the company knew or would have must have known she wasn’t sure.

“Because of Amazon’s apathy and greed, I had to do what no mother should do. Bury my child,” January said.

Amazon defended its response to the Dec. 10 tornado, saying that after one of the lawsuits it believed it had done the right thing.

And just last week, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent a “Risk Alert Letter” to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant saying it had followed the guidelines of minimum federal security requirements for shelter from storms and that he would not face any fines or penalties.

OSHA said, however, that a number of employees did not recall ever participating in an extreme weather drill or know the location of the facility’s shelter and had little time to prepare for the event. the tornado when it hit the facility.

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