Israel reportedly told his staff that Governor DeSantis plans to remove him from office
Almost a year after the Parkland school shooting massacre Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told staff he will be suspended for the response to the shooting.
The Miami Herald has more:
The two-term sheriff, the object of fierce criticism over BSO’s handling of the Parkland massacre, told his top commanders that he will be removed from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis, sources have told the Miami Herald.
DeSantis, who was sworn in Tuesday morning, had not made a formal announcement of a possible suspension. Israel’s discussions with staff about his ouster was first reported by Miami New Times.
Stuart N. Kaplan, one of Israel’s lawyers, said Israel was in his office at the public safety building in Fort Lauderdale working on Tuesday.
“The governor has not said anything to us, directly or indirectly, as to whether or not the sheriff is going to be suspended,’’ Kaplan said. “He is working and continues to serve the citizens of Broward County.’’
But Jeff Bell, BSO’s union chief, said Israel told his staff on Monday that his ouster was inevitable.
“We know that he is telling everyone at the public safety building that he is going to be gone,’’ said Bell, who was at DeSantis’ swearing-in ceremony in Tallahassee on Tuesday.
Several candidates have been mentioned as possible replacements, including former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Republican like DeSantis. But Bell would not indicate whether the union was backing anyone.
Israel has long said he will not bow out quietly. A recent report issued by the state commission investigating the shooting was highly critical of Israel and his department. Miami Herald ctd:
Israel, 61, has vowed to fight any effort to strip him of his office. He maintains that while mistakes were made in responding to the shootings, they were not serious enough to warrant his suspension or removal from office.
Israel has long defended his agency’s actions on Feb. 14, 2018, when 17 people — 14 of them students — were slain by a gunman in what is considered the worst mass high school shooting in U.S. history.
A state panel investigating the massacre released a 458-page report last week that detailed how the killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was able to shoot so many victims inside the freshman building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
The committee blamed security breakdowns and a lack of training on the part of Broward sheriff’s deputies, some of whom took cover outside the building instead of promptly charging inside to confront the shooter, as officers from neighboring Coral Springs did. The report listed a number of other failures by BSO and the Broward school district. Those other BSO problems included outdated, malfunctioning radios, which prevented rescuers from responding more quickly and possibly saving lives, the report said.
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