(CN) – A group of survivors and family members of those killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting claim in court that Orlando police officers contributed to the death and injury toll by not acting fast enough.
In a federal complaint filed in Orlando on Thursday, the plaintiffs specifically point to Adam Todd Guler, an off-duty Orlando police officer, who they allege left the nightclub, allowing shooter Omar Mateen to scout the venue and return with two semi-automatic weapons.
Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 in the June 2016 shooting. Following a three-hour standoff, a SWAT team killed the gunman after storming the nightclub.
But before that, the lawsuit alleges, 20 unidentified officers “chose to remain safely outside, rather than entering the nightclub to neutralize [Mateen].”
“Their callous indifference to the victims’ plight … shocks the conscience,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit also claims police officers unlawfully detained or arrested many of the uninjured patrons and held them for hours, violating their civil rights.
The plaintiffs are represented by Solomon Radner of the Michigan-based firm Excolo Law. Another attorney with the law firm filed a federal lawsuit in April against Facebook, Twitter and Google for allowing terrorists to spread propaganda that led to the Pulse shooting.
The Orlando Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment by e-mail.
In December, at the behest of Orlando’s police chief, the Justice Department and Police Foundation released a report on the law enforcement response to the shooting. The 200-page review of police and other first-responder practices found the Orlando Police Department acted in a “manner consistent with national best practices and under extremely volatile and difficult circumstances.”