Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who faced criticism over his department’s response to the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting last year, was officially suspended by newly sworn-in Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.
“Sheriff Israel has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership,” DeSantis said in a statement.
“He failed to protect Floridians and visitors during the tragic Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting in 2017. He failed in his duties to keep our families and children safe during the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018,” the statement read. “These incidents demonstrate Sheriff’s Israel’s repeated incompetence and neglect of duty. The families of the victims deserve accountability. It is my job as Governor to ensure that the safety of our local communities, especially the safety of our children, is paramount. Government officials must be held accountable for their actions, and/or inactions. For these reasons, I am suspending Sheriff Israel from office effective immediately.”
DeSantis later tweeted that he was suspending Israel for “his repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty.”
DeSantis formally announced the appointment of Gregory Tony as Sheriff of Broward County in Israel’s place. Tony, a former Coral Springs Police Sergeant, will serve as Broward County’s first African-American Sheriff, according to a statement released by the governor.
“It is my intention to embark on this enormous task to restore the confidence of families and residents of Broward County toward the Broward Sherriff’s Office, which also requires that I fix the problems that exist,” Tony said.
17 people were killed during the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The suspect was identified as Nikolas Cruz.
Calls for Israel to resign came shortly after the deadly shooting unfolded and in April, the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association voted “no confidence” in him. The association cited the national criticism surrounding Israel and his office following the shooting.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.