Warning: Graphic content
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School showcased the failures of Broward County’s leadership on a number of levels, but particularly in their sheriff’s department. According to a recent report from the area, however, the true story of corruption and failure in the county is just beginning to be revealed.
A recent report at a Miami news station suggests that on Valentine’s Day, four years ago, a disturbing incident occurred at the Parkland, Florida high school. The cover-up involved someone related to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, as well as Officer Scot Peterson, the SRO who failed to confront the shooter earlier this year. The cover up raises questions about the former SRO’s pension (and why he got to keep it), as well as what happened in an atrocious incident in 2014.
According to the report, two 17-year-old students bullied a 14-year-old freshman boy. They beat him up, then one of the elder students grabbed the freshman and held him down.
What occurred next fits every reasonable definition of sexual assault, and is the kind of conduct that, before the Barack Obama administration’s many demands on the education system interfered with proper discipline, would have resulted in expulsion and serious criminal charges against the 17-year-olds.
While his accomplice held the youth down, one of the older students kicked the victim, grabbed his genitals, and used a baseball bat to ‘simulate rape’ against the young student.
Why does this incident, which occurred four years ago, require an investigation? Quite simply, because the students received almost no punishment for their crimes.
In a statement issued through his attorney’s office in Fort Lauderdale, Royer Borges identified one of the two 17-year old assailants as the Broward County Sheriff’s son.
According to the report, the School Resource Officer, Scot Peterson, filled out the report on the incident, and in his official missive concerning the event, he described the sexual assault as ‘simple battery.’
Borges, speaking through his lawyer, asked an important question about why Peterson was able to leave the department in shame, but still maintain his pension, which will pay more than $8,000 a month in perpetuity.
He asked, to paraphrase, if Peterson was allowed to retire with his full pension, worth nearly $100,000 a year, because he covered for Sheriff Israel’s son and described his felonious assault on a fellow student as ‘simple battery.’
Thanks to the SRO’s claims, the two students received a whopping three-day suspension for the shocking and atrocious way they treated a freshman student.
Since the shooting occurred, there have been constant stories about the failures of Sheriff Scott Israel’s leadership in his department, especially concerning the shooter.
The local law enforcement officers missed multiple chances to do something about the shooter, or to utilize Florida’s Baker Act.
It’s a law that almost every state in the country has some variant of. California has ‘Laura’s Law,’ New York has ‘Kendra’s Law,’ all do basically the same thing.
The law would have allowed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to place the future shooter on a 72-hour psychiatric hold. During that time, local psychiatrists could have met with and diagnosed the individual who would go on to kill 17 people earlier this year.
If experts found evidence that he was a threat to himself and others, and that he was mentally unwell, they could have entered a petition for ‘involuntary inpatient placement.’ This practice is known as having someone ‘committed’ to a mental institution.
It would have made it much more difficult for the future school shooter to acquire a rifle or any sort of weapon.
Since the shooting, media reports have pointed to a number of strange coincidences and government inadequacies, including failures by law enforcement, the school board, and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sadly, all of these failures occurred in just the right sequence, at just the right time, to allow an individual to kill 17 schoolchildren.
It’s time to hold people like Sheriff Israel accountable for their failures. He repeatedly worked to deflect blame onto the National Rifle Association and firearms owners across the country, instead of admitting that Officer Peterson failed to act, and that his deputies on the scene failed to enter the school to engage the shooter.
Indeed, the shooter continued his violence undeterred until two SWAT officers from a neighboring city arrived and entered the building.
It’s time that the federal government seriously investigate the myriad failures of Sheriff Israel and the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. It’s also time that they investigate numerous accounts of possible corruption in the said department.