FLORIDA – Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has just issued an order suspending Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, effective immediately, for “repeated incompetence and neglect of duty.”
Israel came under strong criticism last year for his office’s response to the Parkland High School shooting that left 17 people dead on Valentine’s Day.
He was also called out by critics for the handling of the shooting inside the Fort Lauderdale Airport that resulted in the deaths of 5 people and 6 more wounded victims.
In a Friday afternoon news conference, Israel and his lawyer said they are considering further court action against the Governor in response to what they characterize as a political attack. Governor DeSantis said during his campaign he intended to take this action against Israel.
Critics have questioned whether more proactive efforts by the sheriff’s office would have prevented the school shooting to happen at all.
In a release the Govenor’s Office wrote:
“Sheriff Israel has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership. He failed to protect Floridians and visitors during the tragic Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting in 2017. He failed in his duties to keep our families and children safe during the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. These incidents demonstrate Sheriff’s Israel’s repeated incompetence and neglect of duty. The families of the victims deserve accountability. It is my job as Governor to ensure that the safety of our local communities, especially the safety of our children, is paramount. Government officials must be held accountable for their actions, and/or inactions. For these reasons, I am suspending Sheriff Israel from office effective immediately.”
The Governor’s order states in regards to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had “21 interactions with the shooter, including two incidents that an internal affairs investigation later found warranted additional follow-up.”
Additionally, “Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson exercised the discretion of Sheriff Israel consciously deciding not to engage the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter, while the shooter was actively killing and attempting to kill the students..”