Scott Peterson, the school resource officer who stayed outside Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School as Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside, has been found not guilty of felony child neglect and other related charges.
From the AP . . .
Former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson wept as the verdicts were read. The jury had deliberated for 19 hours over four days.
After court adjourned, Peterson, his family and friends rushed into a group hug as they whooped, hollered and cried. One of his supporters chased after lead prosecutor Chris Killoran and said something. Killoran turned and snapped at him, “Way to be a good winner” and slapped him on the shoulder. Members of the prosecution team then nudged Killoran out of the courtroom.
Peterson took cover and stayed outside the building for more than 40 minutes, long after the shooting had stopped and other officers had entered the building.
His defense apparently relied on misdirection, claiming he couldn’t tell where the sound of gunfire was coming from.
Peterson’s attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, during his two-day presentation, called several deputies who arrived during the shooting and students and teachers who testified they did not think the shots were coming from the 1200 building. Peterson, who did not testify, has said that because of echoes, he could not pinpoint the shooter’s location.
Eiglarsh also emphasized the failure of the sheriff’s radio system during the attack, which limited what Peterson heard from arriving deputies.
The prosecutor had this to say . . .
“As parents, we have an expectation that armed school resource officers – who are under contract to be caregivers to our children – will do their jobs when we entrust our children to them and the schools they guard,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor and the prosecutor’s office said in a statement after the verdict. “They have a special role and responsibilities that exceed the role and responsibilities of a police officer. To those who have tried to make this political, I say: It is not political to expect someone to do their job.”