Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Removed from Office


Steve Cannon, Associated Press

Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel appears before the Senate Rules Committee concerning his dismissal by Gov. Ron DeSantis, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Brendan, Guillen

On October 23rd, 2019 the Florida Senate voted to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who has been suspended since January. It was a 25-15 vote, with state senators from Broward County among the 15 who voted against Israel’s removal.

Scott Israel was removed as a result of his deputies’ reaction to the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The incident left 17 people dead, though many believe the deaths could have been avoided. Eight deputies had ignored active shooter protocol when they arrived on the scene, which has them pursue the gunman in order to disarm them. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated “I hope the outcome provides some measure of relief to the Parkland families that have been doggedly persuing accountability” after the vote. Governor DeSantis later cited Israel’s incompetence and neglect of duty in both the 2018 Parkland massacre and the 2017 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting, which left five dead.

Israel stated that “politics won” and that the “process was a sham” and “A farce” according to Sun Sentinel. A majority of the state senators who voted for his removal from office are Republican, with those who were against his removal being Democrats. He seeks to run for sheriff again in 2020, saying “We’re going to get back in.” He is supported by a Senate investigator, who looked into the incident in December and recommended that Israel be reinstated along with voters who stated that it should be up to them to decide Israel’s fate, not the governor. One woman had stated “We put him in. If we want him out, we will vote him out.”

Republican Senator, Tom Lee, stated the emotions of the Parkland victim’s parents can’t “trump the fact that we are setting a new precedent here.” State Senator Lauren Book said that her decision to reinstate Israel was not political, but rather in an effort to hold former deputy Scot Peterson, the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer, accountable. “I believe if we do not reinstate Mr. Israel, that Deputy Peterson walks, because you can’t have it both ways.” Peterson had not reacted at all to the incident, despite being the first responder.

Governor DeSantis “will not suspend him for previous actions of neglect of duty and incompetence” if Israel is re-elected, according to spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferre.

In other news, Nicolas Cruz, perpetrator of the 2018 High School massacre, will be tried in January. We may finally be able to put some minds at ease.