The lawsuit also lists 30 unidentified Orlando police officers who the plaintiffs allege either remained outside the nightclub while the shooting occurred or held witnesses against their will after they fled the massacre. The city of Orlando is listed as an additional defendant.
“While people, unarmed, innocent were inside a club getting absolutely massacred by a crazed gunman there were a bunch of people … with guns, with the training and capability to take that shooter out,” Solomon Radner, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, told ABC News.
“Instead of doing their job, they worried about themselves, they stayed outside, they worried only about their own safety, knowing that people were literally getting mowed down by the dozens just a few feet away.”
…The police investigation showed that Mateen began the massacre around 2 a.m., but it wasn’t until around 5 a.m. that Orlando police officers shot him to death after they used an armored truck to breach a wall.
Among the 34 plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the estates of six people who were killed in the shooting. Nine of the plaintiffs were detained or “arrested” by police as they ran out of the nightclub, Radner said.
“As the people were running out of the club, thinking that they were safe, the police were there waiting for them, and the police, essentially, for all intents and purposes, arrested every single victim there and held them for 10 to 12 hours,” he added.
…”Virtually every victim they could get their hands on who wasn’t shot or dead, they basically arrested them. They were not free to leave, they were not free to call their loved ones, they were not even free to go to the bathroom or to get water.”
The officers violated the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures by detaining and holding the victims and witnesses against their will and confiscating the cellphones and vehicles of some of them, Radner said.
“The police are not allowed to detain you even if you are the victim of a terrible crime, even if they need to interview you,” Radner told ABC News. “You don’t get to decide that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply and to just go and arrest people. You don’t get to do that and that’s what they did.”
…”The only time you can sue a municipality is if you can demonstrate that the only reason those officers engaged in that unlawful conduct, that unconstitutional conduct, is because of a specific policy, procedure, protocol or custom either written or unwritten of the city which allows, encourages, approves or authorizes that conduct,” Radner told ABC News. “We certainly feel there’s enough here that demonstrates deliberate indifference on the part of the city.”