‘Resign Sheriff Israel’ push gains traction after damaging revelation that deputies hid during shooting

Update: Florida Representative, Chairman Bill Hager has sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott asking  for the removal of Sheriff Israel from office of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for neglect of duty and incompetence. An excerpt of Chairman Hager’s Letter to Gov Scott:

An investigation by Sheriff Israel into the unfathomable inaction of these deputies will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims. The Sheriff was fully aware of the threat this individual presented to his community and chose to ignore it. Sadly, he was not the only one that ignored it. DCF, Broward County Schools, the FBI and the BSO all had the pieces to put this puzzle together, but failed to communicate. While you do not have authority to remove anyone at the FBI, you do have the authority to remove Sheriff Israel, and I encourage you do to so immediately.

(Story follows below.) Sheriff of Broward County Steve Israel has been the face of the Parkland shooting tragedy since the news broke that schoolchildren had been killed at a Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

The tragedy has given rise to a massive outcry for gun control in the mainstream media, which has overwhelmed numerous reports of malfeasance in the FBI and Broward County Sheriff’s Department.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Israel personally reported the cowardice  displayed by resigned School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who ostensibly stood outside the school for four minutes while children were being shot, in a Friday news dump announcement.

The sheriff said he was “devastated, sick to my stomach” that Peterson “never went in.” On a follow-up about what Peterson should have done, he replied, “Went in. Address the killer. Kill the killer.”

The sheriff didn’t disclose that it wasn’t Peterson alone whose conduct merited an investigation into dereliction of duty, but three additional deputies, who “hid” behind police cars while Nikolas Cruz allegedly murdered 17 defenseless individuals, most of them schoolchildren.

The revelation follows upon a CNN “town hall” attended by Sheriff Steve Israel, who was vocal criticizing gun rights supporters such as NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch. The sheriff argued for more authority to involuntarily commit dangerous, mentally unstable individuals in accordance with proper psychiatric and judicial authorization.

“In Florida, we call it a Baker Act. It allows us to take an individual to be, against their will, involuntarily, to go to a mental health facility and be treated,” Israel said.

“Thirty-nine visits did not meet that standard? 39 visits, assaulting students, assaulting parents, taking bullets and knives to school did not meet that standard?” Loesch asked. Israel pushed back against the accusation the department met with Cruz 39 times, which is originally sourced to CNN.

“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.

It would get worse for Israel, despite the sheriff’s attempts to hide the truth from the public.  The police department was given a specific tip, among several phone calls about Cruz’s violent behavior, that he “planned to shoot up the school.” The FBI also failed to investigate Cruz’s warnings that he intended to become a “professional school shooter.”

It isn’t the first time that Israel has been scrutinized for suspect leadership at the sheriff’s department, despite being rewarded by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a position on her Florida Leadership Council. As reported by the Sun Sentinel, Israel has been “the subject of 10 internal affairs complaints, mainly for excessive force, although he was cleared in all of them.”

Furthermore, it also isn’t the only time that Israel has led questionable law enforcement response to a mass shooting. As reported in a Sun Sentinel investigation:

Months after the Greater Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport shooting, a 2017 Sun-Sentinel investigation revealed that Israel’s Broward Sheriff’s Office failed to “seize control and set up an effective command system” at the airport. BSO “erred from the very beginning in controlling the shooting scene in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2, where five people died and six others were wounded.” The reason, cited in a 99-page draft report by the agency itself, mentioned the sheriff’s office’s aging radio system, which garbled communications among officers, forcing police to improvise with “hand signals, runners and cellphones.”

This is all familiar to those who pored over the Broward County police’s timeline account of what transpired during the Parkland mass shooting. As the timeline showed, the suspect arrived in an Uber, transported his rifle into the high school, shot up several classrooms, exited the building, ran to Walmart, then Subway, and then a McDonald’s. Then, the subject was apprehended by an officer who recognized his description without further violent incident.

(Broward County Jail via AP)

How did the suspect exit the scene of a mass shooting and make it all the way to three public locations without arrest by law enforcement authorities? In addition to Broward County deputies initially at the scene of the crime failing to take action to put an end to the mass shooting, there was confusion about a tape delay at the school.

“For almost a half-hour after a school shooter dropped his assault-style rifle and escaped Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police officers thought they were seeing his actions live on the school’s security system. They soon realized the images were tape delayed, which Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi told the South Florida Sun Sentinel made a chaotic situation more confusing,” NBC News reported.

As the report points out, Cruz was captured an hour later about 2 miles away from the high school. The image painted by the reports is that of gross negligence and dereliction of duty.

Several public figures are calling for Sheriff Steve Israel to resign, pending an investigation into the police department’s response. Ben Shapiro was among those at the forefront:

There were numerous others demanding Israel’s resignation.

https://twitter.com/riyasharma266/status/967230203511627776

At a minimum, there should be a full investigation into the actions of Broward County Sheriff Steve Israel and the police department to prevent and halt the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. If is found there was gross negligence and dereliction of duty on the part of police officers, then they should be held accountable for their actions.

Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX

Those who died at Parkland on that tragic Valentine’s Day demand justice and citizens deserve to know if and how they will be protected should a mass shooter target the most helpless and defenseless members of our society again.

Kyle Becker

Chief Editor at BizPacReview
Before becoming Chief Editor at BizPac Review, Kyle was the Sr. Managing Editor and Director of Viral Media at Top 25 News & Politics website IJReview. With distinctive headlines and unique storytelling, he amassed hundreds of millions of story pageviews and led a team that generated billions of pageviews. Kyle also speaks fluent Russian and worked as an editor in Moscow before getting his Master's degree in International Studies.
Kyle Becker

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