“The suit calls for additional training and resources, a jury trial and an undetermined monetary judgment”
June 12th will be the second anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that left 49 people dead and over 50 more injured.
A group of 39 survivors have filed a civil rights suit against Orlando and more than 30 Orlando police officers.
A city police officer acting as a security guard didn’t do his job and more than two dozen of his colleagues failed in their duties or violated the civil rights of surviving victims after the 2016 Orlando, Florida, nightclub massacre, according to a new federal lawsuit.
The gunman, Omar Mateen, was shot dead by police after killing 49 people and wounding 58 at Pulse nightclub in what was then the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Orlando police officer Adam Gruler, according to court papers filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, “was at Pulse at all pertinent times and was charged with providing security to Pulse. Instead, he abandoned his post, thereby allowing [the] shooter to not only enter the club once to scout out the area and make sure nobody could stop him, but to then leave Pulse, retrieve his firearms, and return to execute his sinister plan to kill people.”
The lawsuit also lists 30 unidentified Orlando police officers who the plaintiffs allege either remained outside the nightclub while the shooting occurred or held witnesses against their will after they fled the massacre. The city of Orlando is listed as an additional defendant.
“While people, unarmed, innocent were inside a club getting absolutely massacred by a crazed gunman there were a bunch of people … with guns, with the training and capability to take that shooter out,” Solomon Radner, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, told ABC News.
Orlando police and the city of Orlando have reportedly not seen the lawsuit and therefore state that they are unable to comment on its substance.
In a statement, Orlando police and the city of Orlando said they haven’t seen the lawsuit.
“We can’t comment on the substance of the litigation,” the statement said. “On the morning of June 12, 2016, federal, state and local law enforcement officers and first responders put themselves in harm’s way to save as many lives as possible. Our first responders are committed to the safety of this community, and they stand ready to protect and serve.”
The suit calls for additional training and resources, a jury trial and an undetermined monetary judgment.
The plaintiffs contend that the officers did not act aggressively enough and that after the shooting ended they were “detained as though they were criminals.”
The AP continues:
The plaintiffs contend that officers should have more aggressively confronted Mateen to prevent mass casualties. The lawsuit names Orlando Police Department Officer Adam Gruler, who worked an extra-duty shift at the nightclub that evening. The lawsuit says that Gruler “abandoned his post” and, during that time, Mateen walked in, looked around, walked out to retrieve weapons and returned to the club.
Gruler fired at Mateen from two spots outside the club after the shooting began. Officials estimated Mateen fired more than 200 rounds in less than five minutes.
. . . . The suit also says that officials didn’t allow survivors to use their phones once police had secured the club.
“The detainees were not permitted to use their phones, contact their loved ones, or leave. They were detained as though they were criminals, by these defendants despite there being not a shred of evidence nor any lawful basis to suspect that any of the detainees had committed a crime,” attorneys wrote in the court document.
Watch the report:
Survivors are also suing the owners of Pulse, citing negligence and inadequate security at the nightclub.
A group of 39 Pulse nightclub survivors and family members of those who were killed are suing club owners Barbara and Rosario Poma for negligence, claiming they did not provide adequate security the night of the attack.
The suit was filed in Orange County four days before the community marks two years since the June 12, 2016 attack, which left 49 people dead and dozens more injured.
The lawsuit claims the club did not have enough bouncers or security guards in place the night of the attack.
“They contracted out security to the Orlando Police Department,” said Keith Altman, the attorney who filed the suit. “… It just seems like they were trying to put the club beyond the reach for liabilities and I don’t know that that’s OK.”
Barbara Poma said in a statement Friday that she had not yet seen the lawsuit.
“What is important to Rosario and me is that we continue to focus on remembering the 49 angels that were taken, the affected survivors and to continue to help our community heal. We ask that everyone keep the focus where it belongs as we prepare for this Remembrance Week,” Poma said.
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