Judge Ruling: School Officials, Police No Legal Duty To Protect Students During Parkland Shooting

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • A mass shooting at a Parkland high school resulted in the death of 17 people.
  • Florida lawyer Kristoffer Budhram, who represents 15 students affected by the incident, filed a suit citing the 14th Amendment that the students deserved protection.
  • Federal Judge Beth Bloom dismissed the suit and ruled that officers and school officials were not legally bound to protect the students during the massacre unless the students were considered to be under custody.



Following a Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, a new ruling by a federal judge states that police and school officials did not have the legal duty to protect students during the incident. The rampage resulted in the death of 17 people.

The Florida lawyer, Kristoffer Budhram, representing 15 students who suffered “psychological injuries” from the attack said with the ruling, he is “exploring all of our options for ensuring that they get their day in court”.

Budhram filed a suit claiming that the school district and county were indifferent to a killer shooting people without being stopped or haven’t properly trained their employees to respond to such a situation. He also argued that under the 14th Amendment right to due process, the students deserved protection.

He cited a “clearly established right to be (free) from deliberate indifference to substantial known risks and threats of injury.”

The federal judge, Beth Bloom, dismissed the suit in a ruling last week. The ruling was also released just as a new report revealed that the school officials rewound a school surveillance video to attempt to track down the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, as the shooting was going on. According to South Florida Sun-Sentinel, school officials were not able to make it clear to officers that the information of the possible location of the shooter was several minutes old. Cruz had already managed to walk out of the building amid the chaos.

Bloom questioned, “whether defendants had a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs from the actions of Cruz.”

The defendants included Sheriff Scott Israel, Captain Jan Jordan, former deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s superintendent Robert Runcie, school security monitor Andrew Medina. The judge determined that in order for the defendants to have that duty, “the plaintiffs would have to be considered to be in custody.”

Budhram said in an email to USA TODAY, “We respectfully disagree with Judge Bloom’s decision to dismiss our clients’ case. 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.”

Source: USA Today

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