DeSantis Removes Broward County Sheriff From Office

Clay Curtis
January 12, 2019

"Gregory Tony will be a champion for Broward County who will work tirelessly to safeguard our schools and our streets while ensuring accountability within the Sheriff's office", DeSantis said in a statement.

"I have issued an executive order suspending Scott Israel as the sheriff of Broward County", he said as cheers erupted from attendees.

Israel, a Democrat who has served as the elected sheriff of the agency with 5,800 employees since 2013, accused the newly elected Republican governor of a power grab.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas public safety commission found that officials involved with the response to the shooting, including sheriff's deputies and high school assistant principals, offered accounts that contradicted surveillance video and other evidence. DeSantis also cited the Broward County sheriff's response to a 2017 mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

DeSantis will make the announcement at the Broward Sheriff's Office headquarters on Friday afternoon, sources told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Broward Sheriff's Office came under fire after a report last week was critical of its response to the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Israel told them he didn't want deputies to think they had to conduct suicide missions.

Three Broward Sheriff's Office deputies resigned, saying they did so as a result of Israel's suspension, according to command separation forms released by the sheriff's office.

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During the campaign, DeSantis originally said he would suspend Israel, but then backed off slightly, saying he would hold officeholders accountable.

The report claimed Broward sheriffs as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation neglected to follow up on tips regarding the shooter and the danger he posed to students and faculty months before the attack.

His lawyer, Stuart Kaplan, said that not only would Israel fight the governor's order, but he would run for re-election when his term ends in 2020.

"He fails to listen to the people", Bell said of Israel, according to CNN.

"I've given fantastic leadership to this agency", Israel said on CNN, weeks after the shooting.

"One more second, and she [would have made] it into the stairwell", he said. Still, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's chairman, and other law enforcement officials on the panel have said they didn't think Israel should be suspended. "These incidents demonstrate Sheriff Israel's repeated incompetence and neglect of duty". Israel has said none of those contacts warranted an arrest.

"He has been one of the very few sheriffs whose had a strong presence in the black community", said Kelly Davis, a radio DJ known as Big Man Kelly. DeSantis was elected, in part, to do what he just did.

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