On the day Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was sworn into office, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told top commanders that he’ll be removed from office over his handling of the Parkland school shooting
That’s according to the Miami Herald, which cited an anonymous source.
Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, also said that Israel told his staff on Monday his ouster was inevitable, The Herald reported.
Stuart N. Kaplan, one of the lawyers representing Israel, told the paper the sheriff was at work Tuesday as DeSantis took the oath of office.
“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.’’
Sources “close to the agency,” told Miami New Times Israel vowed to fight to get his job back if he is removed by Gov. DeSantis.
With reports surfacing that Israel had been suspended, DeSantis’ office responded to say the newly-sworn in governor has not officially suspended the sheriff.
A spokesperson for DeSantis told Fox News no one from the governor’s team has had any contact with Israel or his attorneys and have not informed him that he’ll soon be suspended.
Without naming anyone, DeSantis said in his inaugural remarks, “If a local official is neglectful of required duties, I will remove the official.”
The governor also hinted Monday that he was weighing possible replacements when asked if he is going to suspend the sheriff, according to the Sun Sentinel.
“As you look at different folks who have been mentioned as people who could potentially be suspended,” DeSantis said, “the goal is not to [be] like, oh this person is politically different. If you are going to do it, get somebody in there who is going to do a good job.”
Despite his agency’s disastrous response to the school shooting that claimed 17 lives, Israel appeared on CNN days later and extolled his own “amazing leadership.”
But not only did a number of his deputies not enter the school as gunfire rang out, it was also reported that a Broward Sheriff’s Office captain refused to let paramedics go in to help save lives.
Israel’s own deputies made it clear in April that they have no faith in the embattled sheriff.
By a count of 534-94, Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association took what was seen as a largely symbolic vote of no confidence against Israel.
“He fails to listen to the people, he fails to listen to the leadership,” Bell said at the time. “Amazing leadership starts from the top, and there is no amazing leadership here. We are a ship out at sea with no power — adrift.”
The sheriff’s response was to call the vote “inconsequential.”