The Florida Senate voted 25 to 15 to uphold Governor Ron DeSantis’s suspension of former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. During a Senate Rules Committee hearing, family members of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting spoke passionately in favor of upholding the suspension.
The Committee, On October 23, recommended that the suspension be upheld. Many of the Senators spoke about how the fact that 17 people were shot to death represented not just the failure of one school resource officer, but the systematic failure of the entire department.
High ranking personnel also failed in their duties during the incident. Governor DeSantis has said that Israel and his command staff learned nothing from a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport that preceded the Parkland shooting. DeSantis said that if Israel wins the election in 2020, he will not re-suspend Israel.
Scott Israel was bitter about the decision. In a statement he said, “To the voters of Broward County, I am sad to report that politics won the day. Your vote has been stolen and the results of the 2016 election have been overturned. From 450 miles away, the governor substituted his judgement for yours and installed his own sheriff in Broward County. The process they used to steal your vote was a sham and by the Governor’s admission simply political.”
Israel has said he will run for Broward County Sheriff in 2020. The senators who represent Broward County voted for reinstatement.
Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statement following the Florida Senate’s vote granting the Governor’s request to remove former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office:
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “I thank the Florida Senate for tending to this matter. I hope the outcome provides some measure of relief to the Parkland families that have been doggedly pursuing accountability.”
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez also released the following statement:
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said, “Today, the Florida Senate voted on the side of accountability. During that tragic day on February 14, 2018, Scott Israel not only neglected his responsibilities and endangered the public’s safety, but more importantly, failed our children. I applaud the Senate for their thoughtful approach and appreciate their courage in voting for the people of Broward and honoring the victims’ families with their decision.”