The South Florida Sun Sentinal newspaper has done a lot of very good reporting over the years detailing the travesty — the cascading series of failures at all levels — that was the Parkland shooting. Regarding the performance of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, they wrote about school resource officer and “Broward coward” Scot Peterson, who stayed outside the high school listening to sound of gunfire and screams. They detailed the failures up and down the chain in command in the BCSO. Failures of training and leadership throughout that lead to the shooting and directly contributed to the death toll that day.
In other words, they’ve had a front row seat in the endless breakdowns, missteps and “amazing” leadership of former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and his law enforcement agency. So when the Sun Sentinel publishes an editorial endorsing him in his most recent run for the job heading the department that he degraded and embarrassed, it’s all you can do to keep your jaw from hitting the keyboard.
The Sun Sentinel editorial board writes . . .
Gregory Tony, the incumbent, should not have been appointed and does not deserve to be elected. The other four candidates lack sufficient money and political support to be competitive. There are only two viable candidates in this race: Israel and Tony.
In other words, Tony was appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, after he relieved Israel of his job. No matter how qualified he may be or how well he’s performed in the position, that’s a stigma Sheriff Tony — a Democrat — can’t wash off.
With time, however, that judgment seems harsh. Israel could not have prevented the tragedy. The school system was more to blame. So was the FBI, which did nothing about a credible warning of a potential school shooter.
If you’ll remember, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office received literally dozens of calls about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and his family in the years leading up the the shooting. And Israel’s department did nothing.
The editorial board justifies its opposition to reelecting Tony this way:
Tony’s career is marred by deceit. He lied to DeSantis to get the job. He lied by concealing a significant fact that the governor and the public deserved to know — that when he was 14, he had shot and killed another young man. He also withheld this fact from the Coral Springs Police Department, where he began his law enforcement career 15 years ago.
He also kept from Coral Springs that he had used a hallucinogenic substance — LSD — in the 1990s, and that he had been charged with passing a bad check while a student at Florida State University. He told Coral Springs he had not known about the charge.
All salient points, factors that are arguably more than sufficient to oppose his candidacy. But Israel?
The nominee — and the likely next sheriff, since Democrats dominate Broward politics — will either be Israel, a veteran at 64, or Tony, who at 41 seems to be out of his depth despite the five stars that adorn his collar.
Israel’s tenure before the Parkland tragedy was progressive and without personal scandal.
The Sun Sentinel‘s argument for Israel seems to be, He was a GREAT sheriff…until all of his previously unknown failures led to and exacerbated a massacre that resulted in 17 dead teachers and students.
Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
BSO’s epic failure that day remains seared in our collective memory. While some deputies eventually demonstrated bravery, far too many showed cowardice, hiding behind trees, cars and walls. Besides Peterson, seven other deputies also heard the gunfire and failed to pursue the shooter. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, which investigated the tragedy in detail, said they showed “no sense of urgency” despite hearing gunshots on a school campus.
Keep in mind that paragraph was written as part of the Sun Sentinel‘s endorsement of Israel. Here’s more.
Israel might never have been removed had he taken responsibility for what happened, rather than credit for the response, which the Sun Sentinel’s reporting proved to be untrue. For BSO’s response was his responsibility, if not his fault. There is a difference.
The Sun Sentinel discards the other four candidates currently in the race because they “lack sufficient money and political support.” Any one of them would be a more credible choice than Israel. There are probably dozens of reformed convicted felons who would be more effective at running the Broward County Sheriff’s Office that a self-aggrandizing clown like Scott Israel.
That the Sun Sentinel’s editorial board can’t (or won’t) recognize that fact tells you all you need to know about the media in America today.