Florida sheriff says he'll fight suspension

Pauline Gross
January 13, 2019

News of a replacement for Sheriff Israel comes just days after he told his staff that DeSantis was suspending him over his office's handling of the Parkland schooting.

Almost one year after the tragic Parkland massacre, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was officially dismissed from his job on Friday.

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

"Sheriff Israel has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership", DeSantis said in a statement on Friday, accusing Israel of demonstrating "repeated incompetence and neglect of duty".

"The massacre might never have happened had Broward had better leadership in the sheriff's department", DeSantis said during a news conference in Fort Lauderdale. 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.

Israel said then he would not resign.

"I intend to vigorously fight this unjustified suspension, both in court and before the Florida Senate", he said. "The governor promised as a candidate - well before he had any facts about the investigation, well before the commission even began their work - that he would remove me from office".

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.

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"We put in the executive over that as climate changes, as our environment changes, as water rises in places like South Florida and there's increased flooding, we want to make sure that we're taking the steps that we can to combat that", he said.

DeSantis walked up to a podium outside the Broward Sheriff's Office headquarters near Fort Lauderdale, at around 4:45 p.m., Friday.

"His expertise are in things like active shooters, defending schools", DeSantis said.

DeSantis, sworn into office earlier this week, criticized the sheriff during his campaign and had signaled that he would likely remove Israel from office.

Interested in Parkland school shooting?

Under Florida law, DeSantis has the right to suspend election officials accused of "criminal activity, misfeasance, incompetence or neglect of duty", according to ABC News. "I understand it's easier to say "Suspend Sheriff Israel" than it is to address the real problem: The problem around this nation of gun violence".

"They had all those other people that reacted very similar so to me that's more of a systemic issue than it is an individual acting on his own", she said. Tony, a Democrat like Israel, will fill the remainder of Israel's term, unless the ousted sheriff is successful in fighting his suspension.

Other reports by GizPress

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