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May 25, 2019

Judge throws out Pulse victims’ civil rights lawsuit against Orlando officers

November 16, 2018
Forty-nine people were killed in the June 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. (GREGG NEWTON / AFP/Getty Images)

A judge said Wednesday that there wasn’t sufficient legal basis to allow the progression of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the survivors and victims of the 2016 Pulse mass shooting.

Judge Paul G. Byron tossed out the lawsuit, filed in June, which claimed that Orlando police officer Adam Gruler, acting as club security, failed to prevent Omar Mateen from entering the club on June 12, 2016 with an assault-style rifle and gunning down 49 people.

Thirty other officers were identified, but not named, and accused of responding poorly, including holding patrons against their will as they attempted to leave the scene.

“These defendants chose to allow the patrons of the club to be massacred while these defendants ensured only that they themselves were safe,” reads the lawsuit. “These defendants knew that there were innocent people being massacred and that they themselves were the only ones who could stop it, and that it was their job to do so, yet they still, in a manner (that) shocks the conscience, chose to disregard the safety of the patrons while instead ensuring only that they themselves were safe.”

In the dismissal, acquired by the Daily News, Byron called the massacre an “unfathomable tragedy” but cited a case in which the Supreme Court said “that the Due Process Clause provides no guarantee of government protection from private violence.”

He also said that a local government can only incur liability if it fails to “train its employees about their obligation to avoid violating citizens’ rights,” which he said Orlando did not do.

“We respectfully disagree with Judge Byron’s decision to dismiss our clients’ case,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys told MyNews13. “This case is about protecting the Constitutional rights of individuals who were the victims of one of the worst mass shootings in this country’s history. We are exploring all of our options for ensuring that those individuals get their day in court, including appealing Judge Byron’s decision.”

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