On the heels of the second year remembrance for the victims tragically killed at the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016, families of the victims and survivors file a lawsuit against the club owners, the city of Orlando and several Orlando police officers.
The Orlando, Florida Pulse Nightclub shooting is one of the biggest mass shootings in the United States history claiming 49 lives and injuring 50 other clubgoers. And as the LGBT community and loved ones of the fallen still grieve and try to rebound from the horrific tragedy, a lawsuit takes many by surprise as reported by CNN.
The Orlando police officer who first exchanged fire with the Pulse nightclub shooter is being sued in federal court by survivors and family members of nine victims.
Officer Adam Gruler, along with 30 unnamed police officers, and the city of Orlando are accused of violating the civil rights of the club’s patrons, according to a suit filed Thursday in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Gruler, who worked extra duty as security for Pulse, heard gunshots and engaged in a gunbattle with Mateen after the shooting began, police said. Once Gruler felt outgunned, police had said, he retreated from the club and called for assistance.
In the lawsuit, survivors and family members say some officers stayed outside the club as the massacre took place and others detained uninjured survivors who were running away from gunfire, preventing them from calling their loved ones.
Gruler “abandoned his post” and “demonstrated a lack of concern for the dozens of patrons in the club,” the lawsuit said. Solomon Radner, an attorney representing the survivors and victims, said the lawsuit intends to hold the city of Orlando and its law enforcement “responsible for their actions and inactions.”
In a joint statement, the city and police department said the city “has not seen the lawsuit, nor have we been formally served with the lawsuit” and therefore can’t comment further.
The city of Orlando and Orlando Police Department aren’t the only claiming that they have yet to hear about a lawsuit filed against. The Orlando Sentinel has reported on June 8, 2018, that Pulse Nightclub owners have also been named in a separate lawsuit filed by Attorney Radner’s law firm (Excolo Law and 1-800-LAW-FIRM) partner Keith Altman.
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.
“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.”
“The bulky and obviously noticeable weapons that [the] shooter entered to Pulse, through the main entrance, could have and should have been easily discovered by bouncers, if bouncers had done a basic superficial security search on [the] Shooter,” Altman wrote in the lawsuit. “With adequate security measures in place, Pulse shooting could have been prevented.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that one of the worst mass shootings in this country’s history could have been prevented — easily,” Altman said. “As we allege in the complaint, had the owners of Pulse simply put reasonable and appropriate security procedures into place at the club, we do not believe the shooter would have been able to make his way into the club, armed and ready to kill.”
Footage from club surveillance cameras released in March shows the shooter first entered the club without weapons just after 1:30 a.m., then went back to his car, got his weapons and started firing near the club’s main entrance at 2:02 a.m. The Orlando police officer working off-duty at the club that night, Adam Gruler, had left his post at the front door to find someone who tried to get in with a fake ID.
The bouncer at the club that night — Kimberly “KJ” Morris, a 37-year-oldwho had just moved to Orlando from Hawaii to be closer to family — was among the 49 killed.
The Orlando Sentinel article gives a response to the lawsuit from Pulse Nightclub Owner Poma who rather focus on remembering the victims of the shooting as the day of the second year of the tragedy, June 12, draws near.
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.