Judge OKs Arbitrator Decisions to Reinstate Fired Parkland Deputies
The judge ruled both deputies, who were fired for inaction during the Parkland school shooting, should be rehired with back pay and benefits.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – A judge on Thursday ruled that two Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were fired for inaction during the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School should get their jobs back and receive accrued sick and vacation time, overtime and off-duty detail pay, along with other benefits.
Sergeant Brian Miller was fired on June 4, 2019, after a report from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission found no evidence that Miller effectively “directed resources” toward the gunfire he heard when he arrived on scene, reports The Albany Herald. According to the report, he hid behind his vehicle and did not make his first radio transmission regarding the active shooting until about five minutes after arriving.
However, Arbitrator Danielle Hargrove determined Miller should be reinstated with back pay and his prior seniority due to a procedural issue and poor wording in a report on the investigation, according to The Post-Gazette.
Hargrove ruled the Internal Affairs (IA) investigator who wrote the report that led to Miller’s termination failed to follow the rules of the officer’s Bill of Rights when it did not state that the facts in the report “are true.” Instead, the investigator wrote “these are the results.” Additionally, the case was never properly closed within the required six-month timeframe, therefore voiding it.
For Stambaugh, the arbitrator found the sheriff terminated him 13 days past a deadline that the state allows for punishing law enforcement officers once an investigation has been completed. For Miller, it was two days past the deadline.
The sheriff’s office appealed both decisions, reports CBS News, but Broward Circuit Judge Keathan Frink determined the arbitrators’ decisions were correct. The fate of a third fired deputy, Edward Eason, has yet to be determined by an arbitrator.
In total, eight deputies with the Broward Sheriff’s Office failed to enter the school as a former student opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others.