The Broward County State Attorney's office launched over 66 misconduct investigations by Sheriff's deputies going back to 2012, reports Journalist and Fox News contributor Sara Carter.
Many of the claims against officers - ranging from drug trafficking to kidnapping, happened under the watch of beleaguered Sheriff Scott Israel, whose office is now under investigation over allegations that his deputies failed to allow first responders to treat patients at Stoneman Douglas High School following the Feb. 14 massacre which left 17 dead, and that several deputies failed to enter the school to defend the children during the shooting - with reports of a "stand down" order emerging over the last 24 hours.
Israel has defiantly pushed back against criticism, refusing to step down in the wake of what many believe to have been a preventable incident.
Over the weekend Israel fought back on calls for his resignation saying the actions of his deputies were “[not] his responsibility” when they failed to enter the high school that was under siege by Nikolas Cruz, 19. Police responded to calls regarding Cruz over 45 times over a seven-year period, although Israel disputes the report, stating his office only received 23 calls during that time frame. The FBI also received a detailed call on Jan. 5, warning that Cruz had posted disturbing images of slaughtered animals and comments on his Instagram saying he wanted to kill people, according to reports. The FBI stated on Feb. 16, that the tip was not forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office. -Sara Carter
Israel's office under fire
The existence of 66 BSO internal investigations came to light in a civil suit filed by the family of an African-American IT engineer, Jermaine McBean, who was killed in 2013 by Broward Sheriff's deputies responding to a call that McBean was walking around with a weapon which turned out to be an unloaded air rifle resting on his shoulders, according to witnesses.
The officer who shot him was indicted for homicide, which was later dismissed and is now under review by the state Supreme Court - however the shocking number of internal investigations into BSO deputies for a wide variety of criminal behavior has become extremely relevant in light of recent events.
“Approximately 66 BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) deputies and other employees, including supervisory personnel were arrested for, charged with, and/or convicted of crimes that run the gamut from Armed Kidnapping, to Battery, Assault, Falsifying records, Official Misconduct, Narcotics trafficking, and other crimes involving dishonesty and violence in the years immediately proceeding 2013 when Jermaine was killed. Most of the offenses on the list occurred in the years 2012-2013,” according to court records filed against Israel and the Broward County Sheriff deputy defendants.
“Often the cases against BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) employees are resolved by guilty pleas resulting in short or no period of incarceration and a chance for the criminal record to be cleared after a period of time.”
Two months after McBean's shooting, Sheriff Israel awarded two of the deputies the prestegious Broward Sheriff's Office "Gold Cross Award," however he later said they should have received them under mounting criticism.
The deputy who shot McBean, Peter Peraza, was eventually suspended more than two years after the incident and indicted for homicide. A local judge dismissed the indictment on Florida's "stand your ground" law in Aug 2017 - however the Florida Supreme Court has taken the case on review, vacating the court's lower order.
The criminal section of the Department of Justice’s civil right’s division now has an open investigation into McBean’s death, Schoen said. Israel is always shifting blame and the “buck never stops with him,” Schoen said. The most current Brady list has not yet been made available and those numbers are expected to increase, he added. -Sara Carter
Florida's Stand Your Ground law was ruled unconsititutional last July, as Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that it allowed lawmakers to overstep their authorities - and that the state Supreme Court should have crafted the law in the first place.