A Florida lawmaker claims he was only “thinking” about his upcoming speech in a now-viral photo, but the circumstances surrounding the picture tell a completely different story.
State Sen. Perry Thurston was spotted with his eyes closed and in a relaxing pose during a Thursday debate centered around whether to boot Scott Israel as Broward County sheriff.
The picture was taken by Hunter Pollack, the brother of Meadow, one of the 17 victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018.
This is a picture of @SenatorThurston I took during the critical debate in the senate on the fate of former Sheriff Israel. It shows that the Senator doesn’t care about and the future of public safety in Broward County or the interests of his constituents. pic.twitter.com/TcZQy5BUqP
— Hunter Pollack (@PollackHunter) October 24, 2019
Soon, family members of other victims started circulating the photo, slamming the lawmaker for his relaxed and disrespectful attitude during such an important proceeding.
Thurston claims he wasn’t sleeping, but merely planning for an upcoming address.
“I was thinking about my speech,” Thurston told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, denying that he was snoozing during the crucial debate.
That explanation doesn’t quite add up, however.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Thurston’s 20-minute speech was delivered over an hour before the time when Pollack says he snapped the damning photo.
Even those who turned into advocates for gun control after the shooting raked Thurston over the coals for his blatant disrespectful attitude.
“What is happening in Tallahassee now is a big deal,” Fred Guttenberg, a father of one of the Parkland victims, tweeted.
“Perry Thurston, at a minimum you could stay awake for these proceedings. Shameful!!!”
Thurston was one of five Democrats defending Israel, who is also a member of the party.
Although many across the country have voiced their outrage over the sheriff’s handling of Broward County law enforcement, the opposition to the law enforcement official was chalked up to “vengeance” from parents of the massacre’s victims.
Scott Israel is the subject of criticism over his ineptitude and handling of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office before, during and after the deadly Stoneman Douglas massacre.
The Florida Senate eventually voted to permanently remove Israel from his position as sheriff.
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