It’s kind of an amazing thing that three months after the Parkland school shooting, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is not only still a gainfully employed man, but he holds the same position he did when the shooting occurred.
There are so many reasons Israel ought to be out of a job that it’s hard to tell where to begin. This was the guy who crafted a no-arrest policy at the county’s schools that shooter Nikolas Cruz benefited from (even though the sheriff claimed he didn’t). At least one of Israel’s deputies refused to go into the school during the shooting and the sheriff mostly evaded all responsibility. He cracked jokes about second-guessing his department on air, garnering a rebuke of sorts from Jake Tapper.
In short, this is not a man who ought to be employed as a sheriff anywhere, particularly in one of the nation’s most populous counties. And that’s just based on his actions regarding the Parkland shooting.
Now comes news that the disgraced school resource officer who refused to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting may have covered up an alleged sexual assault by Israel’s son during a bullying incident at the same school where the shooting happened.
According to a report by WPLG in Miami, parents are calling for an investigation into an incident four years ago where Deputy Scot Peterson may have altered a report involving one of Israel’s children so that no legal action was taken.
Peterson, you may remember, was heavily criticized by Israel but not fired for staying outside the school while students were being killed. Instead, he was allowed to resign, entitling him to a six-figure public pension.
“The case involved two 17-year-old students bullying a 14-year-old freshman, with one holding down the younger boy by his ankles while the other kicked the victim, grabbed his genitals and then took the victim’s own baseball bat and began shoving it against his buttocks, simulating rape, through the boy’s clothes,” WPLG reported.
“One of those assailants, the boy who allegedly held down the victim, was Israel’s son, Brett. Defense attorney Alex Arreaza, who represents shooting victim Anthony Borges, who was shot five times in the Valentine’s Day massacre but survived, said the case could have led to felony charges,” the outlet continued.
“He could be charged with a lewd and lascivious (conduct charge), and I’m being conservative,” Arreaza told WPLG.
But that’s not what Peterson’s report said. Instead, he put it down as a “simple battery,” which only resulted in a three-day suspension for the alleged attackers.
“What is that? Is that like an alternative universe law?” Arreaza told WPLG. “What happens? Because you’re in the school you don’t have to obey regular laws?”
“You will never see somebody grabbing somebody’s crotch and poking some kid in the butt with a bat and getting a simple battery for it,” he added, noting that the district’s disciplinary matrix includes “sexual misconduct” and “serious” battery.
Arreaza isn’t the only one who is raising questions about the alleged assault. Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the Parkland victims who has become a school safety advocate, wondered if Peterson’s decision guaranteed him job security at the school.
“(Peterson) was lazy and this could have given him protection to keep his job at the school during those four years,” Pollack said.
Borges’ father, Royer Borges, was similarly blunt.
“Maybe if Deputy Peterson would have been made to answer for this, he may have been replaced by a more competent deputy,” Borges said in a written statement.
“If this wouldn’t have been the sheriff’s son, would a sexual assault have been reduced to a simple battery?” he added.
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