From The Miami Herald
The Florida Senate made it official Wednesday and removed Scott Israel, Broward County’s suspended top cop who the governor blamed for the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s botched response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Israel, a Democrat, was halfway through his second term when Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, made good on a campaign promise and suspended him for incompetence and neglecting his duty. In his place, DeSantis named Gregory Tony, a former Coral Springs sergeant.
After an emotional four hours of debate, the same Senate that 20 months ago rejected calls for an assault weapons ban after the Parkland shooting, voted 25-15 largely along party lines to remove Israel, winning praise from the families of the victims.
But, while Israel was on trial, so was the Florida Senate, which after receiving the report of an independent special master who said Israel should be reinstated, had to carve a new precedent for holding sheriffs accountable.
Voting with the Republicans were Democrats Annette Taddeo of Miami and Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, both of whom said they were swayed by the appeals of the parents who said Israel’s failed leadership was responsible for the deaths of 17 students and faculty.
Voting with the other Democrats, who argued that the vote should not be about emotion but about precedent, was Sen. Tom Lee, a Republican and former Senate president from Thonotosassa.
Because Israel is a constitutional officer elected by voters, state law requires that the Senate approve or reject the governor’s decision to remove him from office. That gave Israel the opportunity to contest the decision and put the burden on DeSantis to prove that Israel was incompetent and neglected his duty.
But while DeSantis laid out 10 claims against Israel, the Senate hired an independent arbiter to hold a trial and review the governor’s claims. He concluded the governor didn’t prove a single one. That proved to be the trigger to divide the Senate, with all five members of the Broward delegation — Democrat Sens. Lauren Book, Oscar Braynon II, Gary Farmer, Kevin Rader and Perry Thurston — all voting against removing Israel.
“Before the release of these findings I thought I knew what my vote would be. But after much thought and soul searching, I have concluded that I simply cannot support the governor’s suspension in the absence of enough supporting evidence to meet the high bar that it requires,’’ said Rader, whose district includes Parkland.
Israel, who was first elected in 2012 and again in 2016, has announced he will seek reelection and likely face Tony in a Democratic primary next August. Also campaigning: H. Wayne Clark, Willie Jones, Al Pollock, David Rosenthal, Andrew Maurice Smalling, and Santiago C. Vazquez Jr.
Israel’s lawyer, Benedict P. Kuehne, has said he is considering suing the Florida Senate for violating Israel’s due process rights before being removed from an office to which he had been elected by voters.
The vote is considered a victory for DeSantis who has been urging the Senate to remove Israel since he mentioned it in his State of the State speech and has had his deputy chief of staff lobbying members of the Senate since the special master’s report was released.
For the families of the victims, the vote became intensely personal.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the shooting, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Book, who served on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission and was one of the first legislators to respond to the families, had “put her party ahead of the safety of the community.” He called her “despicable, disgraceful, shameless —just like Israel. They’re cut from the same cloth.”
There was enough incompetence and indifference on the part of law enforcement to go around. The FBI was warned about Nikolas Cruz’s violent threats 6 months prior to the shooting. They did nothing. The Broward County sheriffs were called to Cruz’s home dozens of times over domestic issues. He has a long history of alleged abuse to his adoptive mother. Cruz threw chairs, a dog bowl and cups at his mother, Lynda Cruz, who died from pneumonia last November. He has at least 30 reports of domestic violence and destructive behavior since 2011.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School administrators recommended a threat assessment for Nikolas Cruz back in January 2017.
Cruz passed a background check and legally bought an AR-15 from Sunrise Tactical Supply in Coral Springs, Fla., in 2017.
Which means none of the agencies in Parkland, Florida, bothered to take his behavior seriously enough to charge him prior to the shooting.
And to top it off, the sheriffs who arrived on scene while Cruz was mowing down students, hid outside the building instead of entering to confront the son of a bitch.
The Obama regime awarded grant money to the Broward County school district to look the other way when minority students committed crimes. That’s how wackjobs like Nikolas Cruz was able to slip through the cracks.
Another investigative journalist from The Conservative Tree House site, gathered details about how Broward County policies encourage officers to cover up crimes and avoid making arrests.
No wonder Cruz was able to slaughter those kids so easily. Law enforcement gave him the green light.
The anti-NRA, anti-gun nuts don’t just hate the Second Amendment, they hate law abiding gun owners, as well., and go to insane lengths to push their political agenda.
It’s so much easier to blame the gun and a Constitution-based organization than the actual culprit.
Scott Israel is guilty of depraved indifference.
The motherfucker’s gone, but he should be in jail.