City Asks Judge to Dismiss Pulse Nightclub Civil Rights Lawsuit
The city of Orlando is asking a federal judge to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit that was filed on behalf of victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting that resulted in the death of 49 people. The lawsuit accuses Orlando police Detective Adam Gruler of failing to intervene to stop the June 12, 2016, tragedy.
Original reports indicated the Pulse shooting was a LGBTQ hate crime. In a speech given the day after the shooting, President Donald Trump said, “This is a very dark moment in America’s history. A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub, not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens, because of their sexual orientation.” The following day, the President said, “We want to live in a country where gay and lesbian Americans and all Americans are safe from radical Islam, which, by the way, wants to murder and has murdered gays and they enslave women.”
At the Republican National Convention, Trump again addressed attendees by saying, “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted the LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
However, the gunman, Omar Mateen, allegedly had no idea Pulse was a gay club, and simply Googled “Orlando nightclubs” after finding that security at his original target, a major shopping and entertainment hub, was too high for him to carry out the crime. He evidently asked security guards that night prior to opening fire where all the women were.
Mateen’s motive was actually revenge for United States bombing campaigns on ISIS targets in the Middle East. He had pledged allegiance to ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and during the Pulse shooting posted to his Facebook page, “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..Now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” In his final social media post, he said, “In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa.”
President Obama’s speech followed the events seemed to acknowledge Mateen’s intentions. He said, “We know enough to say this was an act of terror and act of hate.” While the violence could have been carried out toward any American community, “This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” Obama said.
Although Gruler fired at Mateen from two locations outside of Pulse nightclub, he failed to pursue him inside the club at the risk of his own life when he was not successful at disarming him. The civil rights lawsuit has alleged it was Gruler’s duty to go inside the club to “neutralize” the shooter regardless of how dangerous that decision may have been. A motion filed by attorneys for Gruler and the city argues his reaction to the violence doesn’t constitute a violation of the victims’ right to due process.