Victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre, including the estates of those who died, are suing the city of Orlando, Florida and local law enforcement.
In the lawsuit, these plaintiffs argue that the defendants, including officer Adam Gruler who was providing security for the nightclub that night, ‘acting under the color of the law… deprived Plaintiffs of their interest in life, liberty and property by violating Plaintiff’s right to personal security and substantive due process as described herein, which caused Plaintiffs to suffer injuries’.
It also specifically condemns Gruler of ‘abandoning his post and therefore being unable to provide security to Pulse’.
The lawsuit describes these actions as ‘so egregious and outrageous that it shocks the conscience’.
On 12 June 2016, Omar Mateen, opened fire in the gay nightclub. He killed 49 people and injured another 58. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings by a single gunman.
The city has been hosting events memorializing the tragedy all week.
‘Would my brother still be alive?’
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Solomon Radner, said in a news conference that Gruler wasn’t at this post when the shooter opened fired.
‘He should have done what he was there to do: protect the club,’ he said.
In the lawsuit, it also says some of the deployed officers remained outside the club. Other officers, meanwhile, unlawfully detained uninjured victims, according to the suit.
‘I think they were worried about personal safety instead of the safety of others,’ Radner added.
The city of Orlando released a statement.
‘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,’ they said. ‘Our first responders are committed to the safety of this community, and they stand ready to protect and serve.’
However, grieving family members disagree.
Berto Capo, who lost his brother Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo in the shooting, said to reporters: ‘It pains me to think my brother might still be alive if the defendants in the lawsuit acted differently.
‘What if the Pulse security guard stopped the shooter from ever coming inside Pulse? Would my brother still be alive? What if the Orlando police officers who responded to the shooting were aggressive with the plan to rescue hostages and victims and killed the shooter? Would my brother still be alive?’