Florida Republicans are calling on Governor Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
In a Sunday letter to Governor Scott, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran accuses Israel of “incompetence and dereliction of duty.” The letter was signed by 73 Republican lawmakers.
“The failures of Sheriff Israel and his deputies during and after the horrific shooting…and their failures to intervene regarding Nikolas Jacob Cruz in the years, months, and days leading up to that shooting, are unacceptable and unforgivable,” wrote Corcoran.
“Sheriff Israel failed to maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance, and thoroughness amongst his deputies…As a result of Sheriff Israel’s failures, students and teachers died.”
Sheriff Israel has already suspended three officers.
Scot Peterson, an armed guard at the school, was suspended after he failed to enter the school during the shooting. Two others were suspended for failing to follow-up on Nikolas Cruz despite warnings that he was collecting weapons and planning to “shoot up” a school.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) responded to more than 20 calls about Cruz and his brother during the past ten years.
“Deputies make mistakes. Police officers make mistakes. We all make mistakes. But it’s not the responsibility of the general or the president if you have a deserter,” Israel told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
There are also reports claiming that at least three other BSO cops failed to enter the school during the shooting.
“Let me be perfectly clear. Our investigation to this point shows that during this horrific attack…there was only one law enforcement person, period. And that was former deputy Scot Peterson,” insists Israel. “At this point, we have no reason to believe anyone acted incorrectly or correctly. That’s what an investigation is.”
BSO’s investigation “will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims,” argues FL Republican State Rep. Bill Hager, who also sent a letter to Governor Scott demanding Israel’s suspension. “The sheriff was fully aware of the threat this individual presented to his community and chose to ignore it.”
As Hager pointed out, Stoneman HS and the FBI also failed to act despite clear red flags regarding Cruz’s behavior.
Israel says he will not resign and slammed Hager’s letter as “shameful,” “politically motivated,” and “full of misinformation.”
On Sunday, Governor Scott ordered a separate investigation into BSO’s response to the shooting “for there to be full accountability.” Israel says his department will “fully cooperate” with the investigation.
Editor’s note: Not sure if he can truly be blamed, but the problem has to be solved from the top. Children have died. Israel’s time is finished, he should resign before he is asked to.