Newly-elected governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from his post due to his response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last year that killed 17 people.
“Sheriff Israel has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership,” reads the governor’s executive order, according to Sun Sentinel. “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.”
The order goes on to say that Sheriff Scott Israel has shown incompetence and abdicated his duty of protecting the community.
“These incidents demonstrate Sheriff’s Israel’s repeated incompetence and neglect of duty,” the order said. “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 full text of the executive order can be read here.
A recent 458-page report by the state panel investigating the massacre concluded that the Broward Sheriff Department failed to protect the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Though Sheriff Israel claimed he showed exceptional leadership, the report stated that his subordinates were not properly trained while using outdated radio technology that hindered communication during the shooting. The school’s assigned sheriff’s deputy also took cover behind the bushes while another deputy searched his trunk for a bulletproof vest instead of just confronting the shooter.
Furthermore, Sheriff Israel’s office had multiple opportunities to apprehend the shooter prior to the massacre due to multiple red flags; officers even visited with the shooter a full 39 times. However, when appearing in a CNN Town Hall opposite NRA spokesman Dana Loesch, Sheriff Israel thoroughly denied it.
“Thirty-nine visits did not meet that standard? Thirty-nine visits, assaulting students, assaulting parents, taking bullets and knives to school, did that not meet that standard?” Loesch questioned Israel at the time.
“They were threatened with death. They were threatened that they were going to … bleed. They were threatened that they were going to be killed,” Loesch told Israel. “He had already taken bullets and knives to school. He had already assaulted people. He had assaulted his parent. He had assaulted other students. 39 visits. And this was known to the intelligence and law enforcement community.”
Israel denied that authorities visited the shooter 39 times.
“You’re wrong. There weren’t 39 visits, some of them … were GOAs, some of them calls from other states, to say there were 39 visits, I don’t know where you got those facts, but you are completely wrong,” Israel said.