Florida governor Ron DeSantis fires Rick Scott Everglades appointees

Lamar Ellis
January 14, 2019

Tony was recommended by Andrew Pollack, father of the late Meadow Pollack, who was killed in the February 14, 2018, Parkland school shooting.

Israel, a Democrat who has served as the elected sheriff of the agency with 5,800 employees since 2013, accused the newly elected Republican governor of a power grab.

DeSantis formally announced the appointment of Gregory Tony as sheriff. Despite reports and investigations showing numerous flaws that led to more deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, Israel proclaimed his suspension was "about politics". He failed to protect Floridians and visitors during the tragic Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting in 2017. Rick Scott, had refused to suspend Israel, saying he wanted to wait until investigations into the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead were complete before deciding.

"Today is about a new chapter for Broward County, and I want to look forward rather than looking back", he said, thanking DeSantis for "bold leadership" and for following through with a campaign pledge to remove Israel. According to the company's website, Tony worked for the Coral Springs police for more than a decade. DeSantis later tweeted that he was suspending Israel for 'his repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty'.

But in a report finalized last week, commissioners criticized Israel for earlier changing his office's policy to say deputies "may" confront active shooters instead of "shall", giving deputies an excuse for not charging the school.

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Israel said the difference is that he is outspoken against gun violence and championed stricter gun laws. And furthermore, when Scott Israel had said that they had no legal means to go and arrest this murderer, actually that was a lie too. DeSantis tweeted Friday that the suspension was over Israel's "repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty".

Sheriff Israel inserted the word "may" in the BSO policy, and it is insufficient and fails to unequivocally convey the expectation that deputies are expected to immediately enter an active assailant scene where gunfire is active and to neutralize the threat.

"They had all those other people that reacted very similar so to me that's more of a systemic issue than it is an individual acting on his own", she said.

"There was no wrongdoing on my part", Israel said shortly after the governor's announcement. The report also said former Deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer, was "derelict in his duty" and "failed to act consistent with his training and fled to a position of personal safety" during the mass shooting.

According to the Miami New Times, Tony has extensive training in active shooter response.

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