Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

DeSantis suspends Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel

DeSantis suspends Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel

The governor replaced Israel with former Coral Springs Police Sgt. Gregory Tony, 40, who has a background in active-shooter training and becomes the first black sheriff in Broward County's history. Despite criticism of the shooting response, he has said he would continue to serve in his elected capacity, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Governor DeSantis was forced to use the plane because former Governor Rick Scott sold the state air fleet and blocked lawmakers from buying a new plane a year ago.

DeSantis said Israel "failed in his duties to keep our families and children safe during the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School".

DeSantis, who was on the way to Fort Lauderdale for a press conference, was unharmed, his office said.

"The suspension caps a almost year-long series of revelations that exposed the failure of Broward sheriff's deputies to run in to save children at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School".

Hixon said the inaction by multiple deputies when shots were being fired in a school building as a sign of a failure of leadership.

"I intend to vigorously fight this unjustified suspension, both in court and before the Florida Senate", he said. The actual power to remove the sheriff from office is in the hands of the state Senate.

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"There was no wrongdoing on my part", Israel said shortly after the governor's announcement. Israel told them he didn't want deputies to think they had to conduct suicide missions.

"A mechanical issue forced the plane to divert over to St. Petersburg", said DeSantis spokesman David Vasquez.

Under Florida law, the governor can suspend elected officials for criminal activity, misfeasance, incompetence or neglect of duty.

Parkland families said they have high hopes for Tony. Her father Ryan said the failure of BSO deputies to rush into the freshman building to confront the shooter and an active shooter policy that allowed them to avoid doing so is evidence of a failure of leadership at the agency.

The following month, the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association took a largely symbolic vote of no confidence against Israel, leading union President Jeff Bell to subsequently ask Gov. Scott to remove or suspend the sheriff. Tony, a Democrat like Israel, will fill the remainder of Israel's term, unless the ousted sheriff is successful in fighting his suspension. "Scott Israel misused his authority and abused his public trust by politicizing the nation's largest fully accredited Sheriff's Office for his own political ambitions".

Since the Parkland shooting, in which 14 students and three staff members were killed, Israel and his office have been criticized for their response to the shooting.

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