'Coward of Broward' Facing 11 Charges for Inaction During Parkland Shooting


Scot Peterson, the former sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer who was on duty during last year’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, was arrested Tuesday for his alleged failure to take action during the shooting.

Peterson, who has been referred to as the “Coward of Broward,” heard the gunshots after Nikolas Cruz opened fire on his Parkland classmates and teachers, killing 17 people in the process.

Instead of intervening to protect students from the attack, Peterson allegedly took shelter outside.

After an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the 56-year-old Peterson was taken into custody and charged with 11 criminal counts.

The FDLE publicized Peterson’s arrest on its Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, announcing seven counts of felony child neglect, three misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury.

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“The charges stem from his actions (and lack thereof) during the February 14, 2018, MSD High School shooting in Parkland that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff and injured 17 more, and in the subsequent investigation,” the department wrote.

The FDLE investigation came at the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has on numerous occasions expressed disappointment in the Broward County Sheriff’s Department’s response to the shooting.

Do you think Peterson should be held responsible for his inaction during the Parkland shooting?

In March, DeSantis suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, accusing him of “neglect of duty” and “incompetence. Israel is appealing his suspension, according to The Associated Press.

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Peterson’s arrest comes after much debate in recent months regarding the sheriff’s department’s legal obligation to protect students.

In a controversial ruling last December, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom threw out a lawsuit from Parkland students who claimed county officials were in part responsible for the deaths and ensuing trauma, CBS News reported.

Bloom ruled that the county had no such duty to protect the students, since they were not in state custody.

But days earlier, Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning had ruled Peterson had an “obligation to act reasonably” in his official capacity as security personnel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

And the FDLE’s investigation found he had done nothing of the sort.

“The FDLE investigation shows former Deputy Peterson did absolutely nothing to mitigate the MSD shooting that killed 17 children, teachers and staff and injured 17 others,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

“There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.”

Peterson was taken to the Broward County Jail, and his bond was set at $102,000, according to the Washington Examiner.

If convicted, Peterson could be facing more than 96 years behind bars, WPTV reported.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.