Iraqi Families Suing Blackwater USA

Families of Iraqis who died in a shooting involving Blackwater USA contractors in Baghdad sued the North Carolina company today.

They say Blackwater violated U.S. law and fostered a culture of lawlessness among its employees.

The suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., says the Moyock-based contractor has been paid more than 1 billion dollar by the U.S. government since 2001. The suit also states Blackwater violated federal laws in the September 16th killings.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell says the company is aware of the lawsuit. Tyrrell says Blackwater will defend itself vigorously. She would not elaborate because the incident is under investigation by the FBI.

Seventeen Iraqis died in the September 16th shootings.