“Elementary school children do not have the knowledge or insight to realize that these are dangerous things to do,” she said.
One of the girls mentioned in the trial, Lalani Erika Walton, 8, from Temple, Texas, was described in the case as a sweet and outgoing child who loved to dress up as a princess and play with makeup. She would be a famous rapper like Cardi B.
She got her first cell phone on her 8th birthday on April 23, 2021 and quickly became “addicted” to TikTok, where she posted videos of herself singing and dancing in hopes of becoming “TikTok famous,” it says in the suit.
After Lalani was seriously injured in a car accident in which one of her stepbrothers died, she went to live with her stepmother. Unbeknownst to her mother or stepmother, TikTok’s algorithm “led” Lalani in July 2021 to the blackout challenge, the lawsuit states.
Lalani had bruises on her neck on July 13, 2021 and told her family that she had fallen and bumped herself on her bed frame, it says in the suit. Shortly after, she spent some, if not most, of a 20-hour car ride with her stepmother, where she sat in the back seat and watched the blackout challenge, it says in the suit.
On July 15, 2021, Lalani was found with a rope around his neck, the suit says.
After her death, police took Lalani’s phone and tablet and told her stepmother that “Lalani did not commit suicide,” the lawsuit states. A police officer showed the videos of the blackout challenge to the stepmother and said that Lalani had seen the video on repeat and had tried the challenge himself, it says in the suit.