In the wake of a mass shooting that left 17 students and faculty members dead at a Florida high school earlier this month, a series of apparently missed warning signs and law-enforcement lapses has resulted in widespread criticism of multiple agencies.
At the epicenter of the controversy, however, is Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and his department.
Criticism has grown amid evidence suggesting deputies both failed to adequately follow up on tips about the suspected gunman prior to the Feb. 14 massacre and shirked their responsibility to attempt engagement with him during the attack.
That backlash grew following a recent Fox News Channel report suggesting the first deputies to respond to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were instructed not to enter the Parkland school.
Host Laura Ingraham cited unnamed sources “near the Broward County Sheriffs Office” who claim the three deputies reportedly seen outside of the school when officers from a neighboring agency arrived were prohibited from entering due to the fact that their uniforms were not equipped with body cameras.
During Monday’s broadcast of “The Ingraham Angle,” she said those sources “are telling us that the deputies who arrived at the scene of the shooting were told not to enter the school unless their body cameras were turned on.”
Ingraham went on to report that “we found out that the deputies did not have body cameras, so they did not enter the building or engage with the shooter.”
The host’s speculation regarding Israel’s administration continued as she described communication failures “curiously” reported during the critical moments surrounding the shooting.
“And our source claims that radio communication also went dead during the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting in 2017 that (Israel) also got a lot of criticism for,” she said.
As the Sun-Sentinel reported, a coalition has grown in recent days among elected officials and activists demanding Israel’s resignation.
Florida State Rep. Randy Fine, who was one of the dozens of Republican lawmakers to sign a recent letter demanding the sheriff’s ouster, responded to the latest allegations Monday night.
“The more we learn about the situation, the more obvious it is that Sheriff Israel needs to resign or removed immediately,” he said.
While Israel has dismissed such calls as “disingenuous political grandstanding,” Fine maintained that state legislators are determined to get to the facts behind what many believe was a botched law enforcement response by the agency.
“That’s why the Florida House is moving this week to subpoena all records of his and we’re going to be subpoenaing and making him come up to Tallahassee and explain himself,” Fine said. “What happened is a disgrace.”
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