Parkland shooting: Florida governor suspends sheriff over high school attack

13 January, 2019, 03:13 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks before the start of a CNN town hall meeting

Israel claimed the NRA "controls" DeSantis, vowed to "vigorously" fight his suspension in court and before the Florida Senate, and made it clear he continues to believe the impetus for the Parkland massacre was "gun violence".

The Governor and others were on their way to Broward County where they were expected to announce the suspension and replacement of Sheriff Scott Israel.

"I think BSO needs a different leader", said Debbie Hixon whose husband Chris was killed in the MSD massacre.

DeSantis cited Israel's "incompetence" and said he "demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership" after the Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting in 2017 and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

DeSantis, who was on the way to Fort Lauderdale for a press conference, was unharmed, his office said.

DeSantis will make the announcement at the Broward Sheriff's Office headquarters on Friday afternoon, sources told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Much of the perceived faults of the Broward Sheriff's Office were outlined in the lengthy Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission report submitted to the governor's office last week.

As early as March 1, DeSantis called for Israel to resign, amid revelations of missed red-flags and a slow response to the shooting.

Last April, DeSantis said he would have suspended Israel if he were governor.

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Among several damning conclusions, the report found that the deputy assigned to the school - Scot Peterson - "failed to act consistent with his training and fled to a position of personal safety" during the shooting.

"I have served with many of these men and women through my law enforcement career, and they're not self-serving", he said. His executive order states the sheriff's office "failed to contain and maintain security" during the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting in 2017, which resulted in a breach of airport security.

According to state law, Florida governors can suspend sheriffs for "malfeasance" and "neglect of duty". Rick Scott, refused to suspend Israel, saying he wanted to wait until investigations were completed.

"I've given unbelievable leadership to this agency", Israel said on CNN, weeks after the shooting.

"One more second, and she [would have made] it into the stairwell", he said.

"Sheriff Israel has received no official word from the governor or his office of the objective of this visit".

But Israel, clad in a suit and tie rather than his usual sheriff's uniform, said DeSantis' actions were motivated by politics, not facts.

Israel, a Democrat who has served as the elected sheriff of the agency with 5,800 employees since 2013, accused the newly elected Republican governor of a power grab.

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