Disgraced former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel lost his fight to have the Florida Supreme Court return him to duty, the Sun Sentinel reported on Tuesday.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Israel shortly after he assumed office in January due to Israel’s incompetent handling of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Doulgas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Israel went to court on April 1 to fight the suspension, arguing that that Gov. DeSantis had “overstepped his authority” when he removed him from office.
“I was elected by the citizens of Broward County, overwhelmingly,” said Israel, striking a defiant tone. He vowed to run for sheriff again in 2020 no matter what happened with his lawsuit.
The court ruled that Gov. Ron DeSantis had the constitutional authority to suspend Israel in January for his agency’s failure to adequately respond to mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland and the Fort Lauderdale airport.
The decision all but ends Israel’s attempt to get his job back before the 2020 election — the Republican-led Florida Senate is able to overrule the governor’s suspension.
“I hope and expect the Senate will look at the merits of the claim,” said Israel’s attorney, Ben Kuehne. “If they do, and do not act politically, then Sheriff Israel will be reinstated.”
Yeah, no he won’t.
Israel’s only real chance of returning to his job is if the voters of Broward County suffer a collective case of amnesia regarding the 2017 shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017 that claimed three lives, and the 2018 shooting in Parkland that claimed 17 more.
The failure of the sheriff’s office to implement policy changes after the airport incident was one of the factors that led to the casualty rate at the high school, according to an independent commission that analyzed the response to the Parkland massacre.
DeSantis replaced Israel in January with acting Sheriff Gregory Tony, a veteran of the Coral Springs Police Department.
Israel was initially hailed as a hero in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Doulgas High. He appeared repeatedly for media briefings and demagogued shamelessly during the CNN town hall in front of a cheering anti-gun mob.
But as more facts about his conduct came out, Sheriff Do-nothing found himself battling calls to resign from politicians, activists, conservative media, and others due to his department’s dereliction of duty. By April of 2018, he was hit with an unprecedented no-confidence vote by police union members.
Broward County voters elected Israel in 2012 and re-elected him easily in 2016, but it’s unlikely they’ll make that mistake again.
“Today’s Florida Supreme Court opinion leaves no doubt of my authority as Governor to suspend a government official for neglect of duty and incompetence,” DeSantis said in a formal statement. “Scott Israel failed in his duties to protect the families and students of Broward County and the time for delay tactics is at an end. I look forward to the Florida Senate resuming the process of formal removal.”