Broward County Sheriff Israel

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Conservatives have found another scapegoat for the Parkland shooting

The movement is afoot.


David Covucci


Published Feb 26, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 11:38 pm CDT

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, calls for gun legislation have been louder than ever. And as that movement has swept the nation, conservatives have searched for scapegoats that aren’t semi-automatic rifles.

The latest is Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who led the police response to the shooting.

The Florida Speaker of the House sent a letter co-signed by 73 Republicans that called on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Israel for “malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty [or] incompetence,” detailing the signs the police missed and ignored from shooter Nikolas Cruz, including being aware of an Instagram Cruz posted saying he would shoot up a school.

Those same House representatives, days earlier, voted down a motion to open debate on a bill that would ban assault weapons.

Israel has drawn further anger for his response to the report that the School Resource Officer (SRO) did not engage with Cruz during the shooting.

“Leaders are responsible for the agency, but leaders are not responsible for a person,” Israel said in an interview with NBC. “I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.”

Broward’s deflection of responsibility enraged conservatives, who were already upset about the FBI’s response to a tip about Cruz that was not passed along—putting the blame on law enforcement officers for the shooting.

In a petition on Rebel TV, a far-right organization that employed notorious troll Jack Posobiec, a petition to fire Israel cited stocking his “inner circle with far left political appointees instead of career law enforcement people” and having ties to the Cuban Mafia.

Israel said he would not resign but would cooperate with an investigation into the department authorized by Scott.

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*First Published: Feb 26, 2018, 8:51 am CST