The Broward Sheriff’s Office sergeant who was fired for failing to immediately react to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018 will be reinstated to his position with full pay and seniority, according to the BSO Deputies Association.
Sgt. Brian Miller and three other deputies were fired from their positions because of a “neglect of duty” during the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed, the Miami Herald reported.
The arbitrator dismissed the case against Miller and said the Broward Sheriff’s Office violated his due process rights by terminating Miller long after it was allowed to do so under state law, according to the police union, which backed Miller’s challenge of the decision to fire him.
Miller was fired in June 2019, 16 months after the shooting, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The sergeant received a salary of over $137,000 in 2018. When he is reinstated, he will get roughly a year’s back pay as well as compensation for any overtime he would have received, medical reimbursements, accrual of time, paid holidays and time off.
According to a report by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, Miller was the first supervisor to respond to the shooting.
He got there in time to hear three or four shots, but instead of rushing to the scene, he took his time to put on a bulletproof vest, hid behind his car and didn’t radio in for 10 minutes, according to the report.
“Miller failed to coordinate or direct deputies’ actions and did not direct or coordinate an immediate response into the school,” the report said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“Sergeant Miller’s actions were ineffective and he did not properly supervise the scene.”
One member of the commission, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, said Miller was “an absolute, total failure.”
The Professional Standards Commission, meanwhile, recommended that Miller be stripped of his his sergeant’s rank, but Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, who replaced Scott Israel, opted to fire him.
Deputies Edward Eason, Joshua Stambaugh and Scot Peterson were also fired for “neglect of duty,” according to the Herald.
According to the public safety commission’s report, Eason drove away from the sound of the gunshots to a different part of the campus to put his bulletproof vest on, and failed to activate his body camera. He also told investigators he didn’t know where the shots were coming from.
Stambaugh was working at a nearby private school when he received the call for help. He hid behind his police cruiser, but his body camera caught the sounds of the final gunshots.
It was unclear whether Eason and Stambaugh challenged their terminations.
Peterson was the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and was charged with 11 felony counts, including “child neglect with bodily harm” and “culpable negligence,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“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 Florida Department of Law Enforcement wrote in June.
His case is still pending.
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