Florida sheriff suspended over handling of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

first_imgEffective immediately, I am officially suspending Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty. https://t.co/tkHzxTHhjH— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 11, 2019Last month, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission issued a scathing report about the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, specifying that one of Israel’s key active shooter policies may have contributed to the carnage.The commission noted that a written policy saying that Broward County deputies “may” confront active shooters, rather than “shall,” provided an excuse for not entering the school to confront the shooter.Israel, whose elected term ends in 2020, has said he would not leave office voluntarily.Responding to the commission report last month, Israel said that all Broward sheriff’s deputies completed an additional eight hours of active-shooter training, that the department has created a threat assessment unit and that it has enacted other reforms.When asked by CNN days after the shooting whether he would have done anything differently, Israel famously replied, “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) —  Florida’s new governor Ron DeSantis has suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over his department’s much-maligned response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last February — which took the lives of 17 students and staff — and installed the county’s first African-American sheriff, former Coral Springs police sergeant Gregory Tony, according to official statements.On Friday evening, three days after being sworn in, DeSantis issued a tweet saying that “effective immediately, I am officially suspending Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty.” The tweet linked to an executive order signed by the newly minted governor.Israel reacted shortly after the governor’s announcement, holding a press conference in which he defended his tenure and contended that he was a victim of local politics.“There was no wrongdoing on my part,” Israel said at the press conference. “I served the county honorably.”Israel said he plans to “vigorously fight this unjustified suspension” and intends to return to office soon.“This was about politics, not about Parkland,” Israel said.Among a raft of criticism, DeSantis’ executive order noted that Broward County Sheriff’s Department personnel had 21 interactions with the school shooter prior to the massacre, the first one coming in February 2016 — two years before the attack — when the shooter “posted a picture of a gun with a statement similar to, ‘I am going to get this gun when I turn 18 and shoot up school.’”Israel has been the subject of extraordinary criticism in the wake of the massacre on Valentine’s Day 2018.Last spring, about two months after the shooting spree, 534 out of 628 deputies issued a ‘no confidence’ vote in his leadership compared to 94 who voted in confidence of the sheriff, Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, told ABC News at the time.“I will not be distracted from my duties by this inconsequential … union vote, which was designed to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from this agency,” Israel responded, in part, to the union vote.last_img read more

’88 days living in fear’: Jayme Closs’ family speaks movingly as her kidnapper faces sentencing

first_imgDNY59/iStock(GORDON, Wis.) — Relatives of 13-year-old Jayme Closs spoke movingly at Friday’s sentencing hearing for Jake Patterson, the Wisconsin man who pleaded guilty to abducting Closs, killing her parents and then holding her captive until she escaped.The 21-year-old pleaded guilty in March to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for shooting and killing Closs’ parents on Oct. 15, 2018, and one count of kidnapping for taking the couple’s only child from her home in rural Barron, Wisconsin.He faces up to life in prison.Closs’ relatives, including aunt Sue Allard and cousin Lindsey Smith, spoke in court Friday, urging the judge to sentence Patterson to the maximum for each count.“My sister and brother-in-law were such loving and giving and beautiful people,” Allard said at Friday’s sentencing. “It was senseless.”“Oct. 14 was a typical family event with nothing but happiness,” said Smith. “We spent the next 88 days living in fear, pain and not knowing what happened to our family.”“On the 88th day we were finally told that Jayme would be coming home,” Smith said. “We were so glad that Jayme was home… but you took so much from Jayme. You took her parents, her home, her childhood and all of her happiness.”“You took so much from all of us. You took my aunt and uncle from me,” Smith said. “The last moments of my aunt’s life were the worst and scariest moments of her life. No one should leave this earth in such a horrible way.”Patterson held Closs captive in his home in Gordon, Wisconsin, for 88 days, until she escaped on Jan. 10, according to court documents.Patterson confessed to investigators that he targeted Closs after seeing her board a school bus, according to a criminal complaint.After Patterson fled with the girl to his home, he created a space for Closs under his bed. When he would leave the house, he would put barbells and free weights around the bed so she couldn’t escape, according to the complaint.Closs, who did not speak at Friday’s sentencing hearing, was honored at the Wisconsin State Assembly last week.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more