A Tampa Bay area man has joined dozens of Pulse survivors in suing the Orlando Police Department, claiming the agency did not do enough to save lives during the massacre.
Tuesday marked two years since a gunman opened fire at the nightclub, killing 49 and injuring 59 others.
On Thursday, more than 35 survivors and family members of victims announced they’ve filed a federal lawsuit that alleges officers were not adequately trained and did not act fast enough when responding to the shooting.
“I believe the victims of Pulse shooting deserved better,” said survivor Keinon Carter during Thursday’s press conference. Carter was shot multiple times during the massacre.
“We deserved to be rescued sooner by law enforcement officers who made strategic decisions to wait,” Carter added.
Roberto Capo, whose brother was killed in the shooting, claims an off-duty officer who was working the front door wasn’t at his post when the shooter went inside and opened fire.
“What if Pulse security guards stopped the shooter from ever coming inside of Pulse? Would my brother still be alive,” Capo said.
Documents show the first officers to respond pulled back within minutes of saving a group of victims inside the club.
The shooter was left inside with the hostages for nearly three hours before police went back in and ended the standoff.
“The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are heroes and we don’t want to take away from the respect,” said attorney Solomon Radner. “But when you’re being relied on for that kind of thing and instead of doing that you abandoned your post and let people get killed, that always shocks the conscious.”
Radner said they aren’t asking for an exact dollar amount. That’s for the jury to decide.
The City of Orlando and Orlando Police Department released a joint statement Thursday:
The City of Orlando has not seen the lawsuit, nor have we been formally served with the lawsuit. We can’t comment on the substance of the litigation.
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.”