Florida sheriff suspended after criticism over school shooting

House Speaker Jose Oliva

Israel, 62, a two-term Democratic sheriff of Broward County, was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis three days after the new Republican governor was sworn into office.

Israel said DeSantis vowed to remove him as sheriff when he was campaigning for governor. Tony is the first African-American to serve as Broward County Sheriff. By April, DeSantis told supporters he would have suspended Israel if he had been governor at the time of the shooting.

"DeSantis also cited the Broward County sheriff's response to a 2017 mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport". Rick Scott, had refused to suspend Israel, saying he wanted to wait until investigations into the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead were complete before deciding. A recent draft report by a public safety commission tasked with investigating the shooting found several failures and missteps, including among some of Israel's deputies.

Chadwick Wagner both listed the unjust suspension of Israel in their separation forms.

As early as March 1, DeSantis called for Israel to resign, amid revelations of missed red-flags and a slow response to the shooting.

Israel is likely to fight the move in the Florida Senate or possibly in court.

Under Florida law, he is entitled to a hearing in the Florida Senate, which can decide to reinstate the sheriff or remove him from office. "I'm here to continue that mission under the capacity of Sheriff by ensuring you and our deputies that they have the leadership they deserve". According to the panel, that created confusion and led to inaction by eight deputies responding to the high school shooter.

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

In the weeks following the shooting, Israel argued that he had "given wonderful leadership" and placed blame on his deputies. "These incidents demonstrate Sheriff Israel's repeated incompetence and neglect of duty".

"I do believe we've got the right guy", Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the shooting, said.

In his remarks, the sheriff boasted of his accomplishments while at the helm of an agency with more than 5,400 employees, including deputies and firefighters.

Sheriff Israel inserted the word "may" in the BSO policy, and it is insufficient and fails to unequivocally convey the expectation that deputies are expected to immediately enter an active assailant scene where gunfire is active and to neutralize the threat.

Some parents of students at the high school have criticized Israel and called for his removal.

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

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