74 Florida Republicans Call on Governor to Remove Sheriff
By Solange Reyner
Florida State House Speaker Richard Corcoran and 73 other Republicans on Sunday sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott calling for the suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel “incompetence and neglect of duty.”
Israel has been under intense criticism since announcing the school resourse officer, who was employed by Israel’s office, took a position outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida during the Feb. 14 mass shooting that killed 17. Israel said the officer should have entered the building and attempted to stop the shooter.
Today I sent the following letter to @FLGovScott Asking that he suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for incompetence and dereliction of duty. I was honored to be joined by 73 Republican colleagues. You can read the letter attached here. pic.twitter.com/exZVwGQ3DR
— Richard Corcoran (@richardcorcoran) February 25, 2018
The letter comes one day after Florida Republican State Rep. Bill Hager sent Scott his own letter alleging “neglect of duty and incompetence.”
Israel on Sunday told CNN’s Jake Tapper his agency was investigating BSO’s response and that an armed sheriff’s deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School waited outside one of the buildings for “upwards of four minutes.” CNN earlier this weekend reported that Coral Springs police officers arrived at the scene to find that three additional BSO deputies had not entered the school.
BSO has been criticized for its response to the shooting, and for missteps with the shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, prior to the incident. BSO reportedly received warnings about Cruz but didn’t flag him as a threat.
“An investigation by Sheriff Israel into the unfathomable inaction of those deputies will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims,” said Hager, the House Justice Appropriations chairman, in a letter to Scott. “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 ignore it. DCF, Broward County Schools, the FBI and the BSO all had pivotal information but failed to act appropriately and failed to communicate appropriately.”
Scott on Sunday said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will “immediately begin their process,” into how police officers responded to the shooting.
“Let me be perfectly clear. Our investigation to this point shows that during this horrific attack, while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period. And that was former deputy Scot Peterson,” Israel said, referring to a school resource officer. “Coral Springs arrived, a group of Coral Springs officers went in within I think about four minutes, we’re projecting, after the killer left the campus. I understand that they’re going to give statements to us regarding the other three, four, five deputies. At this point, we have no reason to believe anyone acted incorrectly or correctly. That’s what an investigation is.”
A survivor of the school shooting also called on Israel to resign.
“He failed to act on so many different levels and him himself, he is responsible for this massive failure. It could have been easily stopped both by the FBI and the sheriff’s department had they acted,” Kyle Kashuv told “America’s News HQ.”