Florida Supreme Court Sides With Governor DeSantis: Broward County Sheriff Can Be Suspended From Duty

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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.”

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.

What do you think?

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I. Chin
Member

Let’s consider the fallback for this failure and the feckless cowards he employed as deputies. If not a one holds the public trust via office again, they’ll all collect huge retirements.

Sue them civilly. Take their money via attorney fees and awarded damages. Justice is mutable.

Morte206
Member

If the people of the county vote this idiot in again then they get what they ask for. In the meantime DeSantis is so beyond correct in this action it begs the question why the hell wasn’t this done sooner?

Could it be the new blood in the Governor’s mansion? Hmmmm….

Carol
Member

Hmmmm….I think you just may be on to something there, Morte! 🙂

James
Member

Yes, you are correct. As a Floridian, I sent no fewer than 4 emails to Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) suggesting he suspend Israel. But Scott did nothing because he was running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Bill Nelson (D-FL) that he sat on for 46 years and did nothing (Oh, he did submit ONE Bill in those 46 years). My objection to Israel was not only his ineptitude in Office; but his hiring a Muslim Deputy Nezar Hamze who is the Director of the South Florida C.,A,.I.R. unit.

James
Member

(continued) The Council on American-Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.) unit is funded by Hamas – a terrorist group – and it was/is Deputy Hamze’s job to teach his fellow Muslims how to safely operate firearms since the Muslims in So, FL have no walled training compound protected by armed guards like their brothers have in other parts of the US. The Muslims in those camps can train in complete privacy without law enforcement (FBI) observing (nor are they allowed entry) their jihad preparations.

James
Member

The latest information I read is that Israel has applied for and is being considered for a law enforcement position in Palm Beach County “next door” to Broward (“Coward”) County. Heaven help those residents. He sure won’t.

BTW: The MSD High School Resource Officer – Scot Petersen – was fired for not doing his job on 2/14/2018 to stop the shooter (Nikolas Cruz) and is now enjoying his $101,000 per year retirement benefits. Nice work if you can get it.

I. Chin
Member

IIRC, weren’t the Palm Beach deputies the ones who actually acted while the Broward deputies cowered outside, lack of effective leadership aside?

TOM
Member

Scott Israel is a New Yorker and Palm Beach County is even more New York that Broward County so he will fit right in.

I. Chin
Member

Good point and well said. People truly do get the government they deserve.

Just like the cowardly deputy Scott Peterson, why should Israel receive benefits for a job he failed to do?

TOM
Member

I would say that it was more politics. The blood was not dry on the Parkland floors before Scott rushed down there to put in an appearance. A very short time later he announced that he would be running against Nelson for the US Senate. Nelson is from Miami while Scott is not even a FL native so he did not want to do anything that would hamper his chances with the South FL crowd. DeSantis is from Jacksonville, a hellhole on par with Miami, and does not have the same ties to South FL
(cont)

TOM
Member

Scott did do something akin to removing Israel. When the Orange Osceola DA, Aramis Ayala, stood on the court house steps and announced to the world that she would not seek the death penalty in ANY case Scott took all death penalty cases from her office and assigned them to another district’s DA. Though here there was grounds, law, and precedent to remove her from office he did not do that. So it could be that he is reluctant to overrule the voters by removing an elected official.

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