The arrest of Scot Peterson — the former Broward County sheriff’s deputy who was on duty during the February 2018 shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school — has sparked a heated debate about whether he should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 17 students.
The public derisively nicknamed him the “Coward of Broward” for standing outside the building with a gun while students were being massacred inside.
An investigation revealed that Peterson did not enter the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while students were being slaughtered by crazed gunman Nikolas Cruz.
Scot Peterson faces 100 years in jail
Peterson was arrested yesterday and charged with seven counts of neglect of a child, three counts of culpable negligence, and one of perjury after a 15-month investigation, according to Florida authorities.
If convicted of all charges, Peterson, 56, could be sentenced to 100 years in jail.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson says he’s glad Peterson was arrested, but wondered if there’s any legal precedent for criminally charging him for inaction.
Carlson said: “Clearly, Peterson shirked his duty as an American, as a man, and as a law enforcement official. I’m shocked and happy to see that he’s facing criminal charges. But is there precedent for this? On what grounds is he being prosecuted?”
There’s no legal precedent for prosecuting cowardice
Former federal prosecutor Francey Hakes said this case is treading on murky legal grounds.
Hakes said: “This is a tough question. I think emotionally we all like to see him charged criminally. And certainly it’s appalling that he didn’t try to save lives. It is unprecedented.”
She added: “[But] the Supreme Court has held that law enforcement officers have no individual duty of care to any particular person. Here in Florida, what they saying is that he was in the role of a “caregiver,” which is a very specific statutory definition. And in that role as a caregiver, he was negligent to such a degree that he had a “depraved indifference to human life” through his inaction.”
(Source: Tucker Carlson Tonight)
Former DOJ atty: Police aren’t criminally liable for inaction
Tucker asked: “Wouldn’t that be true? Here’s a guy who carries a firearm, who’s been trained in its use, who we as society have given the power of life and death. And he’s in the exact situation that he’s been training for his entire life — a school shooting. That’s the whole reason why he’s there. And he doesn’t do anything? How could that not be a grotesque dereliction [of duty]?”
Hakes responded: “It is a grotesque dereliction of duty. But what they are attempting to do here is to basically criminalize cowardice. Maybe we want to, especially when it comes to our police officers. But there is no precedent for it. I do think he’ll be convicted by any jury in Florida. But I suspect on an appeal, cooler heads will prevail. And they will say that if legislators want police officers to be criminally liable for inaction or cowardice, they’ve got to put that in the law specifically.”
Tucker then asked: “There’s some indication that he was acting [under the orders of his supervisor, Scott Israel]. Why is this even a question? Why wouldn’t his training compel him immediately to run inside? Was there a policy that kept him outside?”
Hakes answered: “I suspect we’ll get the answer to that. Since Columbine, police officers and agents around the world have been training on the principle that you got to go in, you got to go in fast, and you got to go in deadly in order to protect kids. Peterson definitely did not do that. I don’t know if it was a failure of his own moral character, his own cowardice that compelled him to inaction or whether it was a policy. We’ll find that out.”
Former Sheriff Scott Israel ordered deputies not to enter building
As BizPac Review reported, investigations show that deputies with the Broward Country Sheriff’s Office were ordered not to enter the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while students were being murdered inside by gunman Nikolas Cruz.
Sources say the shocking reason for the decision to not help the victims is that the deputies did not have body cameras on them.
The Broward County sheriff’s department reportedly said the deputies who arrived at the scene of the shooting were told not to enter the school unless their body cameras were turned on.
It’s likely the death count could have been mitigated had law enforcement done their jobs, which was to protect children. Curiously, the police also “lost” radio communications during the shooting.
Retired deputy shows coward Peterson how it’s done
Compare the craven Scot Peterson with this retired deputy, who whipped out his gun and shot an armed robber dead when he saw the perp was waving a firearm around. (see video below — warning: graphic.)
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