Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is backing out on his promise to release footage of the Parkland shooting.
During a CNN town hall in the aftermath of the shooting, Israel vowed to make public footage captured from deputy Scot Peterson’s body camera during the Feb. 14 shooting.
Peterson, if you remember, was one of several officers who waited outside of the building while the shooter methodically gunned down 14 students and three faculty members.
However, Israel is now going back on that promise.
Israel claims that releasing the footage could potentially hinder the investigation and provide tactical information that could be misused if put in the wrong hands, according to the Miami Herald.
“First, Israel himself has said that the public needs to know this information,” the Miami Herald stated in a piece penned by its editorial staff. “He’s right, and he should accommodate the people on whose behalf he and his deputies work.”
The piece continues: “Instead, Israel refuses to release the recordings, arguing that they are exempt from the state’s public record laws. He says that they reveal security plans and are part of ongoing investigations.”
As noted by the Herald, whatever security plans Israel is trying to keep private “failed miserably” at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
On Feb. 22, Israel revealed that Peterson, the school resource officer, waited outside of the building for four minutes while children and adults died inside.
The deputy’s inability to engage or at least attempt to engage the shooter has received widespread criticism, with one student even calling Peterson’s actions “despicable.”
Last week, the Herald reported that a captain from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office ordered law enforcement personnel to form a perimeter around the school. The captain responsible for this call was recently identified as Captain Jan Jordan.
Jordan’s decision to have officers form a perimeter as opposed to entering into the building is a maneuver opposite of what Israel claims is the protocol.
“No, what the videos would reveal are not ‘security plans,’ as the sheriff claims,” the Herald continued. “Rather they will reveal that there was probably confusion over the plan, or flawed communication of said plan.”
Israel and the BSO have been under heavy criticism for their handling of the case even before shots rang out on Marjory Stoneman Douglas high’s campus a few weeks ago.
The BSO received 39 calls involving the gunman or his family prior to the shooting.
On Nov. 30, 2017, the sheriff’s office was notified that the shooter had been “collecting guns and knives” and “could be a school shooter in the making.”
The sheriff’s office is reportedly investigating how it handled that particular tip.
Israel disputed the claim that his sheriff’s office had received 39 calls regarding the shooter or his family in his town hall appearance opposite of Loesch.
“To say there were 39 visits, I don’t know where you got those facts, but you’re completely wrong,” Israel said, before adding that the mainstream media had “reported it inaccurately.”
With all of the miscommunication and criticisms surrounding Israel and the BSO, it seems the only likely form of transparency left can be found within the body camera footage he once vowed to release.
Some, such as Red State‘s Brandon Morse, believe that Israel should just release the footage and resign, allowing the sheriff’s office and the community of Parkland time to heal.
“At this point his reputation is trash despite his best efforts,” Morse wrote. “He should release the footage, accept his failures, resign, and let the investigation move on with more competent police officers in charge.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.