Friday, December 8, 2017

A Pulse first responder and former police officer is suing OPD and the City of Orlando

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 11:52 AM

click to enlarge Jessica Realin, center, and lawyers representing her husband, Gerry Realin. - PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
  • Jessica Realin, center, and lawyers representing her husband, Gerry Realin.
Gerry Realin, a Pulse first responder and former Orlando police officer, filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Orlando and the Orlando Police Department on Friday morning.

Realin was among the members of a hazmat crew that removed the 49 dead bodies from the Pulse nightclub following the June 12, 2016, mass shooting.

The charges allege that OPD violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards by not providing Realin and his fellow officers with proper safety equipment, such as eye protection, during the five hours they tended to the crime scene inside the club.

"OSHA standard precautions concerning blood-borne pathogens were disregarded, ignored, violated and overlooked during the cleanup operation of the Pulse massacre by OPD," the lawsuit reportedly says.

Realin decided to leave OPD about a month after the Pulse massacre and was soon after diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, rendering him unable to return to work at the department.

The lawsuit alleges that Realin was then harassed by fellow OPD officers, including Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon, over his mental condition and inability to return to the police force.

Realin's attorney, Geoff Bichler of Maitland, told News 6, "Maybe the most shocking is the fact that one of Officer Realin's superiors followed him to an appointment with a psychiatrist and then essentially tracked him down to a gas station after the appointment to confront him."

The lawsuit seeks in excess of $1 million in damages for alleged violation of Florida's Workers' Compensation Law.

In July, Realin was granted a full retirement pension — 60 percent of his salary for life — in an unanimous decision by Orlando's city board.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation