They filed the lawsuit because they believe that the city and responding officers did not do enough to keep them safe.
Back in 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old former security guard from Orlando, Florida, shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others when he opened fire on a crowd of people inside Pulse Nightclub, which is a known gay nightclub, shortly after vowing allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Roughly two years later, 31 local law enforcement officials, who responded to the incident inspired by ISIS, are now the target of a lawsuit filed by the survivors of the terrible tragedy because they allegedly failed to properly protect them at the nightclub while the attack was occurring and unjustly detained numerous people afterward. In addition to the officers, the recently filed lawsuit also took aim at taxpayers by also including the city of Orlando as a defendant for not doing more about their safety.
“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. Instead of doing their job, they worried about themselves, they stayed outside, they worried only about their own safety, knowing that people were literally getting mowed down by the dozens just a few feet away,” explained Solomon Radner, the attorney representing the survivors, while speaking to reporters about the justification for the lawsuit.
“[Gruler] was at Pulse at all pertinent times and was charged with providing security to Pulse,” asserted the survivors in their lawsuit.
“Instead,” they continued, ”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.”
In addition to accusing the officers for not doing more to protect them, the survivor’s attorney also accused them of violating their Fourth Amendment rights, which is an amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, “by detaining and holding the victims and witnesses against their will” and confiscating the vehicles and cell phones of numerous victims.
“As the people were running out of the club, thinking that they were safe, the police were there waiting for them, and the police, essentially, for all intents and purposes, arrested every single victim there and held them for 10 to 12 hours,” noted Radner while speaking about the unjust searching and seizing.
“Virtually every victim they could get their hands on who wasn’t shot or dead, they basically arrested them. They were not free to leave, they were not free to call their loved ones, they were not even free to go to the bathroom or to get water,” he continued, adding, “the police are not allowed to detain you even if you are the victim of a terrible crime, even if they need to interview you. You don’t get to decide that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply and to just go and arrest people. You don’t get to do that and that’s what they did.”
Radner added that their conduct “made the trauma way worse for a lot of people because you can only imagine they just watched their loved ones get shot up, blood everywhere, bullets everywhere, guns everywhere.”
When asked why the survivors decided to include the city in the lawsuit as well, Radner told reporters that it’s likely they could demonstrate “deliberate indifference on the part of the city.”
In response to reports of the lawsuit, the city of Orlando and the OPD released a joint statement stating that they have not yet seen the lawsuit nor have they “been formally served with the lawsuit” and because of this, they cannot “comment on the substance of the litigation.”
On top of pointing this out, they also made sure to praise those who put their lives at risk to ultimately bring the attack to an end.
Specifically, they stated, “nearly two years after the horrific act of hate inside the Pulse nightclub, our community continues to mourn the 49 lives taken and provide support for all those impacted. 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 officers in Orlando aren’t the only law enforcement officials recently accused of failing to properly do their jobs. In the wake of the tragic school shooting where a 19-year-old bullied teen killed 17 people and wounded numerous others, countless people spoke out also slammed Scot Peterson. He was deputy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office who had been serving as the school’s campus resource officer at the time of the attack, but stood outside during the attack.
Despite this, however, the disgraced deputy was able to retire with his lifetime pension benefits unaltered an will now begin receiving a total of about $101,879 every year. This means that each month, he’ll be collecting a paycheck worth roughly $8,702, which is absolutely reprehensible.
Although it’s clear that Peterson failed to properly respond to the what happened, the awful massacre would have likely been completely avoided if the administrators at the school and local police did their job when it first became clear that Cruz was unstable.
Instead of placing Cruz under arrest, for instance, the school officials decided to send him to an Obama-era “alternative discipline program,” otherwise known as the “PROMISE” program, that was launched to try and limit on-campus arrests. Disturbingly, however, the troubled teen never even went to the program because the school officials did not properly follow up on his progress.
What’s worse, shortly after the attack took place, Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie was caught misleading the public about the incident by arguing that there was “no connection” between the liberal initiative and Cruz, even though there was.
When he was finally confronted by reporters about the misleading assertion, Runcie promptly distanced himself from it by claiming that he had simply been repeating what other people had told him.
Alarmingly, the superintendent has also been caught misleading the public about particular details related to the awful attack.
Without a doubt, those who fail to do their job appropriately must be held accountable. However, if city officials and the officers in Orlando were the ones who failed to properly do their job, then they should be the ones who are ultimately held accountable for their actions, not the taxpayers.