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.
Today I sent the following letter to @FLGovScott Asking that he suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for incompetence and dereliction of duty. I was honored to be joined by 73 Republican colleagues. You can read the letter attached here. pic.twitter.com/exZVwGQ3DR
— Richard Corcoran (@richardcorcoran) February 25, 2018
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.
.@tomilahren: “We have all this information we know now about the failures of the school, failures of the cops, the failures of the FBI and somehow it’s the NRAs fault?” #NextRevFNC pic.twitter.com/GbErz7Hu3t
— The Next Revolution (@NextRevFNC) February 26, 2018
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel will not resign following #Parkland shooting. @dbongino reacts on @foxandfriends: “The sheriff has to go. He has to resign. I don’t see any way he can credibly function in that role anymore.” pic.twitter.com/Ogu9nxh8bQ
— Ainsley Earhardt (@ainsleyearhardt) February 26, 2018
— MAGAB0$$ (@TheRealMAGATR0N) February 26, 2018
Sheriff Israel should be F-I-R-E-D! His leadership skills were in full effect as NOT one BUT four deputies under his leadership coward as our children were being killed and the shooter was left UNCHALLENGED! #FireSheriffIsrael
— The best is yet to come…. TrumpPompeo2024 (@cjlovesamerica) February 25, 2018
As former law enforcement and a Broward County resident, the time has come to #FireScottIsrael.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) February 25, 2018
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.