Broward County Sheriff Suspended for Handling of Parkland Shooting

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Sheriff Scott Israel for his alleged mishandling of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Published: January 14, 2019

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel last week over the much-criticized handling of last year’s Parkland shooting by his department.

According to DeSantis’ executive order, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department had 21 interactions with the school shooter prior to the shooting, reports ABC News. An internal affairs investigation found that two of the incidents warranted additional follow-ups that never happened.

The first incident was in February 2016, when the shooter posted a picture of a gun, stating he would buy the gun when he was 18 and shoot up the school.

In a tweet on Friday, DeSantis said the suspension was for Israel’s “repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty.”

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Israel held a press conference shortly after the governor’s decision went public, defending his actions. He believes he is a victim of politics and plans to “vigorously fight this unjustified suspension.”

“There was no wrongdoing on my part,” Israel said. “I served the county honorably.”

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission published a report last month, specifically calling out Israel and his department.

When police arrived at the school on the day of the shooting, they were unable to communicate with each other due to failed attempts to merge radio traffic.

A father of one of the 17 killed during the shooting says the county knew that its radio system needed an upgrade in 2016.

The commission also noted that the department’s written policy states deputies “may” confront active shooters, rather than “shall,” providing an excuse for not entering the school to confront the shooter.

Israel responded that he didn’t want deputies entering “suicide missions.”

During the suspension, Gov. DeSantis has appointed Gregory Tony as Broward County’s acting sheriff, making him the county’s first African-American sheriff, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Tony, 40, had nothing but praise for the agency when he introduced himself as acting sheriff.

“I am not here for any type of political grandiose agenda,” he said. “I’m here to serve. I’m here to provide you with the best leadership I can provide.”

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