Less than two days after the Senate Rules Committee in the Florida legislature voted 9-7 to uphold former embattled Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s suspension from office, the entire state Senate then voted 25-15 for permanent removal.
Israel, the former Republican-turned-Democrat, was suspended by newly-minted Gov. Ron DeSantis after his keystone cops Sheriff’s office bumbled the response to the February 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The shooting left 17 students and teachers dead and helped launched a spirited nationwide movement to ban assault weapons.
DeSantis' effort to keep Israel suspended hit a wall when Senate Republican-appointed mediator recommended that Israel be reinstated, but it was ultimately up to the Republican-led Senate to make that final decision on whether to permanently oust Israel, or not.
The vote came down along party lines, but while Democrats took the position that DeSanti's decision to suspend Israel was strictly political, Sen. Lauren Book made the compelling argument that it could not be very difficult to successfully prosecute the former Deputy Scot Peterson for his dereliction of duty.
“While Scott Israel is not free from blame or failure, only one Scott can be held accountable and that’s Scot Peterson,’’ said Book, who served on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission. (TB Times)
Peterson was charged with child neglect, perjury and culpable negligence charges after school surveillance video showed that he refused to enter the active shooter area and engage the perpetrator, a decision that would have saved countless injuries and deaths.
But unfortunately for Republicans and the families affected by the shooting, Israel may not be gone for good.
Israel has filed to be on the ballot in 2020, and may not pursue a legal remedy for his ouster.