On Tuesday, the Florida Supreme Court sided with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), upholding the governor’s use of executive power to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from duty after his mishandling of two terrible tragedies.
Israel was suspended from his post as Broward County sheriff in January by DeSantis for botching the responses to two horrific shootings under his tenure: the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018 that took the lives of 17 people and the attack at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017 that killed five.
In a tweet posted Tuesday, DeSantis announced the court’s decision, tearing into Israel for his “neglect of duty and incompetence” and stating that he was “look[ing] forward” to the “formal removal” of Israel.
“Today’s @flcourts opinion leaves no doubt of my authority to suspend a government official for neglect of duty and incompetence. Scott Israel failed to protect the families and students of Broward County and I look forward to the @FLSenate resuming the process of formal removal.”
Today's @flcourts opinion leaves no doubt of my authority to suspend a government official for neglect of duty and incompetence. Scott Israel failed to protect the families and students of Broward County and I look forward to the @FLSenate resuming the process of formal removal.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 23, 2019
The Florida Constitution states that a governor may suspend a sheriff for incompetence or neglect of duty.
DeSantis originally suspended Israel through an executive order in January, citing “repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty.”
The executive order also stated that deputies at the scene of the Parkland shooting did not move in to confront the shooter during the attack.
As IJR Red previously reported, Israel had speculated with his department that he would be ousted from his position after 85 percent of his officers backed a no-confidence vote against him. As an elected official, he was not forced to leave office after the no-confidence vote.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel released an article in December outlining many of the failures made by Israel, including his department not going through active-shooter training in “10 to 20 years.”
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Israel’s attorney Ben Kuehne stated that he “hope[d] and expect[ed] the [Florida] Senate will look at the merits of the claim” and that Israel would “be reinstated.”
Should Israel be fully removed from office by the Florida Senate, he would have to run again to reclaim his job.