DeSantis Removes Broward County Sheriff From Office
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R.) signed an executive order on Friday removing Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from his post.
DeSantis announced the decision to remove Israel at the Broward County Sheriff’s headquarters just after 4:30 p.m., according to CBS4 Miami.
Retired Coral Springs Police Sgt. Gregory Tony will be the county’s interim sheriff. According to reports, Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last year, recommended Tony, who will be Broward County’s first African-American sheriff.
According to state law, Florida governors can suspend sheriffs for “malfeasance” and “neglect of duty.” The state Senate has the power to permanently remove a sheriff from office.
Israel was criticized for his department’s handling of the Parkland shooting last February, when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people before being arrested over an hour after the shooting began.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas public safety commission found that officials involved with the response to the shooting, including sheriff’s deputies and high school assistant principals, offered accounts that contradicted surveillance video and other evidence. The panel determined the officials were either incompetent or untruthful.
In the weeks following the shooting, Israel argued that he had “given amazing leadership” and placed blame on his deputies. It was reported in the wake of the shooting that one of Israel’s deputies, Scot Peterson, did not enter the school as the massacre took place. His office also appears not to have followed up on tips that Cruz was dangerous prior to the shooting.
Multiple people related to victims in the shooting criticized Israel and called for his resignation.
Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, said the failure of Israel’s deputies to confront the shooter reflects deficient leadership in the sheriff’s office. Debbie Hixon, whose husband was killed in the shooting, said the sheriff’s office “needs a different leader.”
Israel is expected to contest his suspension.
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