Protests continue outside GM's annual shareholders meeting - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Protests continue outside GM's annual shareholders meeting

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GM CEO Mary Barra at 2014 Annual Shareholders Meeting in Detroit (photo courtesy CNN) GM CEO Mary Barra at 2014 Annual Shareholders Meeting in Detroit (photo courtesy CNN)
DETROIT -

A small but impassioned group of protesters gathered at GM's headquarters while shareholders had their annual meeting.

"I hate being here outside this building," said Laura Christian, the mother of a crash victim. "It just reminds me that she's never coming back."

Christian acknowledges her 16-year-old daughter was drinking and not wearing a seatbelt when the car she was driving crashed, but she still believes it was the ignition switch that caused the crash.

"I was supposed to have the rest of my life with her and I'm not going to have that."

Ken Rimer drove 11 hours to stand in protest as shareholders met inside. He believes the crash that killed his stepdaughter was also caused by a faulty ignition switch.

"This is their home court. This is where we need to be," he explained. "These two young girls died because of what they didn't do, so we want to make sure that they remember what happened."

The shareholder meeting took place just days after GM's internal investigation report was released, uncovering a "pattern of incompetence and neglect," and showing people at GM knew about the deadly defect but did nothing about it.

Conducted by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, the report said, "The switch was so plagued with problems that the engineer who designed it labeled it then 'the switch from Hell'."

At GM's annual meeting, no shareholder asked about the recall or deaths, but CEO Mary Barra apologized again.

"I know there are no words that can capture and explain the grief and pain that each of you feel," Barra said.

GM also told CNN, "We made serious mistakes in the past and, as a result, we're making significant changes in our company to ensure they never happen again."

Thirteen people died as a result of the defective switch, according to GM. That number only counts frontal-impact crashes where airbags did not deploy, therefore only counting victims who happened to be sitting in front seats at the time of the crashes.

When asked about the distinction, Barra answered, "Our goal is to make sure everyone who was impacted by the ignition switch issue is appropriately compensated as it relates to those who lost loved ones or those who had serious physical injury. That's what we're focused on."

Ken Rimer's stepdaughter is not one of the 13 GM recognizes. She was sitting in the back seat when she died.

"The loss of life is something you just can't describe. The loss of a child. It was a simple fix, they could have fixed this problem before it even happened, these two girls did not need to die in vain."

Laura Christian added, "I want to see GM being held criminally liable at least the people who knew and did nothing."

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