Sheriff Touts His 'Amazing Leadership,' Blames His Deputy
Fort Lauderdale, FL – A Republican lawmaker has asked the Florida Governor to remove the county sheriff in Broward County in response to growing criticism of how the sheriff’s office responded to the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting.
Rep. Bill Hager, a Republican and chairman of the Florida House of Justice Appropriations, asked Gov. Rick Scott to remove Sheriff Scott Israel, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Under Florida law, the governor has the power to remove a sheriff.
In a letter to the governor, Hager said that Sheriff Israel should be removed due to negligence and incompetence.
The letter cites reports that a school resource officer under Sheriff Israel’s command failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when shooter Nikolas Jacob Cruz killed 17 people.
Another report from CNN cited an anonymous Coral Springs officer who claimed three more deputies stayed outside during the shooting.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the police response to the Parkland shooting, as ordered by Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Sheriff Israel angered some gun owners when he said to the NRA on CNN, “You are not standing up for these students.” The Broward Sheriff’s Twitter account tweeted that quote on Feb. 21.
Sheriff Israel said he would not resign in a CNN interview and said he has provided “amazing leadership,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The sheriff placed the blame primarily on a single school sheriff’s deputy who failed to enter the school and confront Cruz.
“Deputies make mistakes, police officers make mistakes, we all make mistakes,” Israel said on CNN to Jake Tapper. “But it’s not the responsibility of the general or the president if you have a deserter. We’ll look into this. We’re looking into this aggressively, and we’ll take care of it, and justice will be served.”
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Tapper then asked him, “Are you really not taking any responsibility for multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward Sheriff’s Office about this shooter before this incident, whether it was people near him, close to him?”
“Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” Israel said. “I exercised my due diligence. I provided amazing leadership to this agency.”
“Amazing leadership?” Tapper asked, according to a CNN transcript.
“Yes, Jake,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we’ve done throughout this. You don’t measure a person’s leadership by a deputy not going into a … these deputies received the training —.”
Tapper responded, “You measure somebody’s leadership by the way they protect the community. In this case, you listed 23 incidents before the shooting involving the shooter, and still nothing was done to keep guns out of his hands, to make sure the school was protected, to make sure you were keeping an eye on him. I don’t see how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.”
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