Scott Israel incompetent fired desantis broward parkland
Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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By Terry Spencer, AP

The two shootings dominating the Democratic primary for sheriff in Broward County, Florida, couldn’t be more different.

The 2018 massacre that pushed former sheriff and current challenger Scott Israel out of office left 14 students and three adults dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a top-tier school in the wealthy Fort Lauderdale suburb of Parkland. A former student is awaiting trial.

The campaign of Sheriff Gregory Tony, appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis when he fired Israel in 2019, is haunted by his 1993 killing of an 18-year-old neighbor in a poverty-stricken section of Philadelphia when he was 14. A judge found he was defending himself and his brother, but he has been hammered for not disclosing the shooting to DeSantis or when applying for police jobs.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony (AP Photo/Ellis Rua)

Tony and Israel are the top contenders in Tuesday’s primary, which also has four lesser-known, lesser-financed candidates. Tony and his political action committee have raised about $1.5 million, while Israel has gotten about $600,000, according to election records.

The Democratic winner will be a strong favorite in the November general election as that party has a 50% to 21% advantage over the Republicans in registration. Tony and Israel are former Republicans. The sheriff runs a 6,000-employee operation with a half-billion dollar budget.

Accusations of racism entered the contest recently when a Black campaign staff member for Israel called Tony, who is also Black, a racial slur referencing a slave who enthusiastically serves his white masters. Israel, who is white, fired the staffer.

Israel, 64, eked out a win in 2012 and won handily 2016, but days after his second term began in January 2017 a gunman killed five people at Fort Lauderdale’s airport. Broward deputies quickly captured the killer, but Israel received criticism in an investigator’s report for failing to take charge at the chaotic scene that had passengers cowering in fear for hours amid false reports of a second gunman.

Israel escaped that storm, but couldn’t get past Stoneman Douglas. In the days immediately after the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting he portrayed his deputies as heroes and criticized the National Rifle Association during a nationally televised town hall as blocking needed gun regulation, a position he had long held. But school security video soon showed his deputies failed to enter the building to confront the shooter. Israel refused blame for their actions and said he had shown “amazing leadership.”

It was then learned that before the shooting Israel had changed department policy from requiring deputies to engage active shooters to “may.” It is a policy many departments have so officers aren’t compelled to undertake suicide missions, but the die was cast.

The slain students’ parents and conservative groups got promises from DeSantis that if he were elected he would fire Israel, which he did days after taking office in January 2019.

Israel called the move a “power grab” and insisted, “There was no wrongdoing on my part. I served the county honorably.” DeSantis’ decision was upheld by the Republican-led state Senate, even though its investigator found DeSantis’ grounds didn’t meet Florida law. DeSantis says he won’t again fire Israel if he regains office.

DeSantis surprised everyone by picking as Israel’s replacement Tony, a political unknown who lived outside the county. A former sergeant in the suburban Coral Springs Police Department, Tony had left the force in 2016 to run his consulting company, which trains officers to confront active shooters. Tony, the county’s first black sheriff, had been recommended by Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, died at Stoneman Douglas. Pollack had become one of Israel’s most outspoken critics and a DeSantis ally.

But Tony, 41, quickly made enemies with the primary deputies’ union, which said he fired and disciplined deputies accused of misconduct without due process and wouldn’t communicate.

Deputies also accused him of being slow to provide protective gear when the coronavirus pandemic erupted. That resulted in an angry confrontation between him and union leaders after a deputy died of the disease. He suspended the union president from duty; the union, in turn, voted no confidence in Tony.

Then in May an investigative website, the Florida Bulldog, uncovered Tony’s Philadelphia shooting. Tony never disclosed it on law enforcement job applications, checking “no” when asked if he had ever been arrested. He also didn’t tell DeSantis or state investigators who vetted him for sheriff.

Tony said he doesn’t believe he was arrested, but 1993 newspaper accounts indicate he was held for several days. His former chief at Coral Springs told reporters he never would have hired Tony if he had known his history.

Tony has said he is being targeted by the unions and entrenched special interests. He has said he is proud of overcoming a life that began in an impoverished, violent neighborhood to become the county’s top law enforcement job. He also still has the support of the group representing the Stoneman Douglas victims.

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  1. God! Both these guys don’t deserve the job. I hope the hell there’s another candidate worthy of the position.

    • It’s a common problem. Policing attracts power tripping authoritarians who are unfit for the job. And, we do a poor job of weeding them out. We need “peace officers” more than we need “law enforcement officers”. I could watch a whole crowd of laws being shot to death for little or no reason. Not so much watching people being shot to death.

      I don’t support BLM or Antifa or any other nut group, but we need to face up to the fact that they have some legitimate complaints – and these guys are prime examples.

    • “I hope the hell there’s another candidate worthy of the position.”

      We will never know because the Leftists will ram Israel into office again…

    • Absolutely correct! There is no viable choice here. Israel was, and is, an incompetent, inept fool, lacking any semblance of expertise in managing an organization the size of Broward County S.O. Tony, a municipal police Sergeant up-jumped by the Governor to a position for which he is also unsuited by dint of a lack of education and/or requisite experience, turns out to be a fraud who entered law enforcement through a lie of omission, for which he should actually be relieved of his Florida law enforcement credentials.

      Broward voters are left with a choice of one of two evils!

    • Broward County is what happens when you tip the east coast: all the loose change rolls south and ends up in Broward. None of the players in this 3rd rate movie are worth spit. Incredible that Israel collected $600k for his campaign.

      • all the loose change rolls south and ends up in Broward

        AND Dade…. with a few holdouts in Little Havana…

  2. As a 14 year old, the sheriff defended himself?
    Of all the things one might say about a cop, that ranks pretty high on my ‘couldn’t care less’ list.

    • These guys are questioning the qualifications of a man with 5 (FIVE!!!) stars?

      If somebody wishes to make some easy bucks, design a pin with 6 stars.

  3. The two candidates are somewhat shady. Scott Israel is a risk averse politician and all around POS who masqueraded as Sheriff, and Tony has demonstrated authoritarian tendencies and did not disclose his killing of a possible drug dealing rival at age 14. Moreover, Tony and his wife are active in the South Florida swingers community, which caused some embarrassment when Israel operatives leaked that info to the press. The two major candidates are morally corrupt and would step on gun rights given the opportunity.

    • What adults do and how they(and their spouses play) have no relevance here. What does matter is how they have done and will do their job. Claiming the high road when their bosses say they wee wrong, just shows that they have NOT learned from their mistakes and will not ever change their ways.
      How they play is distasteful to me, but how they do(and don’t) their jobs shows they are not qualified and If I were a voter in that county, I would vote against him. Just as all of you that say us Californians get the government we deserve, we can say the same.

      • The point was that the odious Scott Israel political machine outed Tony regarding his lifestyle, and Tony did have an obligation to his supporters to not conceal it. This is politics, and politics is a dirty, dirty business. Thanks for the lecture regarding consenting adults.

  4. Broward, big Dem hole, lot’s of money, lot’s of NY, NJ transplants, but Israel loses this one…

  5. Israel is slime. He couldn’t sheriff 5 year olds. If I lived in Broward County I’d campaign against him with everything I had. On the other hand, Tony has some issues but so far hasn’t proven to be inept. I’d rather there was a Republican that had a chance to run against them and win. And I can’t believe there isn’t a Repub that can take these two! The ads just write themselves!

    • I wonder if Tony changed the “may” engage rule? He has no excuse for lying on the applications for employment. Which is the better/lesser of 2 evils?

      • Who says he lied?
        He failed to disclose committing a lawful act as a minor.

        If somebody asked “have you ever been arrested?”, and he was arrested for the SD shooting, then he lied. Otherwise, he might not have.

        • Is it possible he cannot legally disclose the information due to his record being sealed when he turned 18?

      • Arrested as a minor is something that most people do not have to admit to on employment applications. The laws in many states for holding minors are different than they are for holding adults.

  6. To mass shootings well he was Sheriff and both had plenty of signs before they happened but not only refused to act before they happened but refused to act when they were happening. And the coward in Broward will be voted in yet again.

    The cynic in me has come to the conclusion that they want more mass shootings. It gives them more blood to dance on. It gives them a blunt object to attack desantis Even though their policies created Several missed opportunities to stop it before it began.Or at least stop it faster.

    • And the coward in Broward will be voted in yet again

      Israel is not the Broward coward, he WAS the Broward cowards boss, put the rule in place that covered the cowards ass when he decided to NOT enter the building while kids were being murdered…. Will not be reelected…

  7. Neither of these candidates deserves the job and it is a sad state of affairs that the County and the Police Union could not identify a worthy candidate other than these two.

  8. Breathing that Israel could even be a contender. Clearly, Rod Searling’s influence on this planet is far beyond the limits of time and space.

    He spoke at my college commencement.

    • “He spoke at my college commencement.”

      And it had no effect on you at all?

      Suuuuuuuuure… 😉

      (“Imagine an ordinary firearm blog… In the ‘Twilight Zone’…)

      • I was pretty burned out in college; full-time student, 30 hours per week as the night manager of a restaurant, and commuting to both school and work.

        Crispy critter. Had given up pot and acid because of my schedule (that I was a seminarian might have had something to do with it, also). So, all I remember is that Rod Serling was on the podium and that the college was letting me walk onto the stage but my diploma would not be in the vinyl casing because I was delinquent on my bill. Those were the days!

  9. Oh, it’s Broward County. The cesspool of Democratic Shenanigans. As someone who lived there for 35+ years and had the good sense to leave for Polk County for 22 years,
    And Volusia County for The last few years, it’s hard to comprehend the stupidity of the electorate down there. I’ve had Sheriff Grady Judd and Sheriff Cheatwood. Grady Judd should be run for Governor When he is ready. Cheatwood is a good Man and could clean up the crap down there. Find duplicates of these men and you wouldn’t have to worry about crime spiking out of control. It’s up to you to choose the candidates.

    • Polk county? Greetings!

      Grady Judd is the best thing to happen to this place, but I seriously doubt he wants that job…

    • Broward native, and I can NOT wait to leave here forever. I won’t even come back to visit.

  10. Most people voting this week in Broward aren’t taking about what happened in Philly. You guys are stretching.

  11. Everyone should write in Mickey Mouse for this election. Pretty much anyone would do a better job than the lying killer currently in office or the incompetent idiot that wants his job back.

  12. The problem I have is that the county sheriff offices in this state are pretty much more political than public serving in Democrat leaning population centers. The huge problem we go here in Central Florida is that the dumbass Orange county chief of the sheriff took the knee for BLM. Not a smart move to stay in power.

  13. Demtard primary? I assume that everyone on this once great site can vote by mail multiple times.

    But really what MORON would elect a demtard sheriff?

    • But really what MORON would elect a demtard sheriff?

      Duhhh, Broward County FL….. AKA “NEW” NY/NJ….

  14. Israel is a power addict. Right now he’s going through severe withdrawals after being forced out of office. He’s addicted to power. He is one of the most dangerous public officials you could ever elect. As far as the other guy goes?

    Give him a chance. Killing someone to defend another as a child, that’s a hero in my book. TTAG has many stories about children defending themselves and other family members. Killing their attackers sometimes.

    If it was ruled justifiable by Authorities why is it even questioned??? Is it because he’s black? Seriously is it because he’s black?

    A previous executive president of the NRA also killed a threat when he was a child.

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