Oct 23, 2019

Florida Senate votes to boot Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel

Scott Israel.

Photo: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Habitat for Humanity of Broward

The Florida Senate voted 25-15 on Wednesday to finalize Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order suspending Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

The big picture: Israel's leadership had been in question for his department's response to two mass shootings, including the 2018 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting. Lawmakers from both parties voiced concerns over DeSantis' removal of a locally elected official, pushing instead for the issue to be sent to voters. Proponents of Israel's ousting argued it's a matter of accountability.

  • Florida law does permit the governor to suspend a sheriff, but leaves the Senate to determine if the action is with merit, CNN notes.
  • Israel argued that DeSantis removed him to score political points, with DeSantis being a Republican and Israel a Democrat.
  • Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer involved in the Parkland shooting, also resigned amid backlash for his response to the event. Peterson is facing charges including culpable negligence, perjury and multiple counts of felony neglect of a child.

What's next: Israel has said he intends to run for sheriff again in 2020.

  • If he were to win re-election, DeSantis indicated he "will not suspend him for previous actions of neglect of duty and incompetence," a spokesperson told CNN.

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