Florida Gov. Rick Scott is moving to suspend “incompetent” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for “dereliction of duty” that allowed the school shooting to take place, after a popular petition by lawmakers including Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
“Today I sent the following letter to @FLGovScott Asking that he suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for incompetence and dereliction of duty. I was honored to be joined by 73 Republican colleagues,” the House Speaker wrote in a tweet.
Accompanying that tweet was a copy of the letter.
Today I sent the following letter to @FLGovScott Asking that he suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for incompetence and dereliction of duty. I was honored to be joined by 73 Republican colleagues. You can read the letter attached here. pic.twitter.com/exZVwGQ3DR
— Richard Corcoran (@richardcorcoran) February 25, 2018
Corcoran, a potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate, accused Sheriff Israel of ignoring warning signs from alleged Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz, and said Israel had failed to “maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance, and throughness amongst his deputies.”
Four of Sheriff Israel’s deputies have become embroiled in scandal after it emerged they did not enter the school and engage the shooter, or shooters, during the event, instead seeking safety behind their patrol cars until Coral Springs police arrived on the scene.
A Coral Springs police source told CNN that “the deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles,” the sources said, and “not one of them had gone into the school.”
“The resentment among Coral Springs officials toward Broward County officials about what they perceived to be a dereliction of duty may have reached a boiling point at a vigil the night of February 15, where, in front of dozens of others, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. A source familiar with the conversation tells CNN that Goodrum was upset that the Broward deputies had remained outside the school while kids inside could have been bleeding out, among other reasons.“
But the cowardice of Sheriff Israel’s deputies is just the starting point in an investigation into the Sheriff’s dereliction of duty regarding the shooting. Israel has been forced to announce an investigation into how two other deputies had handled warnings about the Nikolas Cruz prior to the shooting.
Law enforcement received a total of 18 warnings from various members of the public about the alleged shooter before the attack, including a caller saying the eventual gunman was a “school shooter in the making.”
“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” Israel said. “I exercise my due diligence. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency.”
Under the Florida state constitution, Scott has the authority to suspend county sheriffs given they are elected officials not subject to impeachment.