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Broward Sheriff Suspended for 'Incompetence,' 'Neglect of Duty'

Gov. Ron DeSantis pulls Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over criticism on Parkland shooting
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2019 6:00 AM CST
This Feb. 21, 2018, file photo shows Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaking before a CNN town hall broadcast at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.   (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, File)

(Newser) – There's a new sheriff in Broward County, Fla. That's because Scott Israel, the one in that job during the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been suspended by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, per the Hill. Israel was removed from his post for "repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty," DeSantis tweeted Friday afternoon, adding in a statement that Israel "has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership. … The families of the victims deserve accountability." Israel, 62, had been criticized by both lawmakers and families of the shooting victims after reports emerged that his office had received nearly 20 tips on the accused gunman before the shooting. Many in Parkland also faulted Israel for the way his deputies responded during the shooting itself, crouching behind cars and trees instead of rushing into the school, per the Sun Sentinel.

HuffPost notes DeSantis has the right under state law to suspend elected officials for misfeasance, neglect of duty, criminal activity, or incompetence. Israel, who was said to have been aware that a suspension might be coming down the pike, issued his own statement (read it in full at the Sun Sentinel) in which he says DeSantis' actions lack "both legal merit and a valid factual basis. There was no wrongdoing on my part. … I understand it is easier to say 'Suspend Sheriff Israel' than it is to address the real problem of gun violence." Israel, who'd been sheriff for six years, per Fox News, says he'll take his case both into the courts and to the Florida Senate, which will hold a trial and either restore his job or take him out of it permanently. The new acting sheriff: 40-year-old Gregory Tony, an ex-Coral Springs police sergeant with active-shooter training who will be Broward's first African-American sheriff. (Read more Parkland school shooting stories.)

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