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Sheriff criticized over Parkland shooting response removed from office

Image: Sheriff Israel addresses the news media outside Marjory Stoneman Dou
Sheriff Scott Israel addresses the news media outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a school shooting on Feb. 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Copyright Thom Baur Reuters file
Copyright Thom Baur Reuters file
By David K. Li with NBC News U.S. News
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Gov. Ron DeSantis removed the Broward County sheriff, saying he had shown "repeated incompetence and neglect of duty."


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday suspended embattled Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, whose department has been criticized for its response to last year's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

DeSantis, who just took office after winning election in November, appointed former Coral Springs police Sgt. Gregory Tony, now president of an active-shooter response training company, as the new sheriff, saying that Israel had displayed "incompetence and neglect of duty."

Seventeen students and educators were killed on Feb. 14 at the high school, after which the Broward County Sheriff Department's response that day hasbeen called into question.

DeSantis also criticized the department's handling of a 2017 shooting that killed five people atFort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

"He failed in his duties to keep our families and children safe during the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14,2018," according to a statement by DeSantis.

"These incidents demonstrate Sheriff Israel's repeated incompetence and neglect of duty."

The Republican governor made the announcement at Broward County Sheriff's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale with some survivors of the Parkland shooting behind him.

"The families of the victims deserve accountability," De Santis said. "It is my job as governor to ensure that the safety of our local communities, especially the safety of our children, is paramount. Government officials must be held accountable for their actions, and/or inactions. For these reasons, I am suspending Sheriff Israel from office effective immediately."

Before DeSantis' announcement, officials announced that five of Israel's top staff — including Undersheriff Stephen Kinsey and Col. John Dale — had resigned.

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