Last week, following an arduous two-week trial, Tory Lanez (Daystar Peterson) was found guilty in the July 12, 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion. Peterson pleaded not guilty to all three charges, which included one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Peterson faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison and potential deportation to his native country, Canada.
“The jury got it right. I am thankful there is justice for Meg,” Megan’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said in a statement following the verdict. Her legions of fans, too, expressed relief. Lanez’s supporters, however, were incensed—so much so that within hours of the jury’s ruling, a petition began circulating online.
The campaign, hosted on Change.org, was created on Christmas Eve and has since amassed over 36,000 signatures.
“Tory Lanez was found Guilty of all charges and it is a true miscarriage of justice!” a description for the petition reads. “The state did not prove that Lanez undoubtedly committed any crime. Reasonable doubt loomed over a 10 day trial as the prosecution was unable to show us that there were not alternative explanations of the events. A circus of speculation, insufficient evidence, inconsistencies, and drunken memories left us without much moral certainty of any truth.”
Echoing Lanez’s family’s furious reaction outside the Los Angeles courthouse, the petition’s description also implies the verdict could’ve been fixed. “This case is also about branding, marketing, label heads and a music industry that pushes narratives based on who they have personally invested millions into. Could Jay-Z or RocNation be involved??”
Upon a quick search on Change.org, two additional petitions were created in the immediate aftermath of the verdict announcement. Those have accumulated a 319 and 163 supporters, respectively. Such campaigns have emerged as Lanez’ attorney, George Mgdesyan, issued a statement that he and his client were considering filing an appeal.
“We are shocked by the verdict. There was not sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Peterson,” Mgdesyan said. “We believe this case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We will be exploring all options including an appeal.”
It’s worth noting that while there wasn’t conclusive DNA on the firearm, the prosecution presented 47 items of evidence—including Lanez’ apologies to both Megan and Harris almost immediately after the shooting. In addition to Megan’s testimony that she saw Lanez shot her, an eyewitness told the court that Lanez was “firing everywhere,” and in an 80-minute interview with the prosecution, Harris affirmed that Lanez opened fire at Megan’s feet. Despite this, Lanez’s supporters—fueled by internet mis- and disinformation—have continued to doubt he was the shooter.
Lanez’s sentencing hearing is set to take place on January 27, 2023.