There are conflicting reports coming out of South Florida regarding Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The Miami Herald has reported that Israel told his staff that incoming Governor Ron DeSantis is going to suspend him. But Fox News and other outlets have reported that the governor has denied this. When questioned this morning during a press conference announcing the appointment of a new Chief Justice, DeSantis told reporters “All I can say to the people of South Florida is that I shall return very soon. It won’t take long.”
I don't know if DeSantis is considering suspending Israel, but if he's not, he SHOULD BE. The Sheriff's office has come under criticism from all sides due to the response last year to the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas school. Deputies took cover outside the school while the shooter killed 17 people inside, and later escaped with other students as they fled the building.
Israel has consistently defended the actions of his department. But new reports show his actions are even more reprehensible. He allowed the cowardly deputy Scott Peterson to retire with full benefits rather than fire him. And now it's been revealed that this same deputy helped Israel's own son skate on sexual assault charges committed at the very same school. The victim alleged that the younger Israel, starting quarterback on the football team, held him down while another player "kicked him, grabbed his genitals and rammed a baseball bat between his buttocks, simulating rape. "
So, how does someone who sexually assaults a fellow student on school property NOT go to jail?
Well, apparently it helps when your dad's employee reports the crime as "simple battery" allowing for leniency and no arrest.
There's so much blame here to go around that it's hard to know where to start. We can thank the Obama administration for the school leniency policy. The 2013 PROMISE program was intended to reduce school-based arrests for minor offenses and stop the so-called "school-to-prison pipeline” disproportionately affecting minorities. But rich white kids were eligible too! Coincidentally, this same program was responsible for the school failing to suspend or expel the shooter despite numerous reports of problems. The Sheriff's office signed a no-arrest contract with the school system because of this program.
So, we have a school system that allowed violent students to avoid arrest, a sheriff's department that was poorly trained to respond in a crisis, and a crooked sheriff that covered up his own son's criminal acts and rewarded the deputy that helped him escape punishment.
Why WOULDN'T the governor take action now?
I've written repeatedly about the problem with Title IX justice in our schools. Sexual assault is a crime and crimes need to be reported to the police. But what good is reporting them if the police aren't going to arrest or even investigate the crimes?
If anyone feels compelled to contact Governor DeSantis, here's his info:
Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001