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Pulse survivors sue Orlando police, city

By Danielle Haynes
Pulse survivors sue Orlando police, city
The survivors of the 2016 Orlando shooting said police should have entered the nightclub sooner to save lives. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

June 7 (UPI) -- A group of survivors of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., sued 31 police officers and the city, accusing them of failing to do their duty or violating victims' civil rights, court documents filed Thursday indicate.

The 34 defendants in the lawsuit include survivors and the families of some of the 49 people who died in the massacre. The shooter, Omar Mateen, also died in a shootout with police.

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The suit names only one officer -- Adam Gruler -- and identifies the others as John Does 1-30. The complaint accuses Gruler, who was working security at the nightclub, of failing to enter the nightclub when the shooting began at 2 a.m., in order to "ensure his own safety."

"Gruler demonstrated a total lack of concern for the dozens of patrons in the club, whom he was personally charged with protecting," the document says.

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Twenty more officers responded to the nightclub after the shooting began and "refused to enter the club to engage [the] shooter, also instead choosing to ensure their own safety."

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The officers entered Pulse and engaged with the shooter before he retreated farther into the nightclub. Officers shot Mateen to death around 5 a.m.

The survivors also accused police officers of violating their civil rights by unlawfully arresting them as they exited the nightclub. The detainment "intimidated, humiliated, degraded and injured" the survivors who "were terrified and in a state of shock because of the shooting they witnessed."

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Those who were arrested were detained for questioning and in some cases, their personal property was seized from them "without any lawful basis," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages but didn't specify an amount.

A joint statement from the city of Orlando and Orlando Police Department said officials had not seen the lawsuit.

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"Federal, state and local law enforcement officers and first responders put themselves in harm's way to save as many lives as possible," the statement said.

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