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Governor DeSantis suspends Broward Co. Sheriff Scott Israel for response to Parkland shooting

Posted at 4:52 PM, Jan 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 17:59:32-05

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — Florida's new Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday he has signed an executive order to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his department's response to the Parkland school shooting last year.

Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Friday. He appointed former Coral Springs police Sgt. Gregory Tony to replace Israel.

A report earlier this week said Israel anticipated the move.

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“There was no wrongdoing on my part. I served the county honorably," Israel said in a press conference Friday, just after DeSantis made the announcement.

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.

A state commission investigating the massacre recently concluded Israel's changes to the department's active shooter policy may have contributed to some deputies' inaction during the school shooting.

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

DeSantis' Republican predecessor, now-Sen. Rick Scott, had refused to suspend the sheriff, saying he wanted to wait until investigations were complete before deciding.

He issued the following statement on the suspension:

Sheriff Israel has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership. He failed to protect Floridians and visitors during the tragic Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting in 2017. He failed in his duties to keep our families and children safe during the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. These incidents demonstrate Sheriff’s Israel’s repeated incompetence and neglect of duty. The families of the victims deserve accountability. It is my job as Governor to ensure that the safety of our local communities, especially the safety of our children, is paramount. Government officials must be held accountable for their actions, and/or inactions. For these reasons, I am suspending Sheriff Israel from office effective immediately.
Governor Ron DeSantis

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

Read the complete executive order here.