No matter how you view it, it’s not exactly a profile in courage.
As the fallout from the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Florida, continues to roll across the country, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is facing calls for his resignation from Florida lawmakers and heavy criticism in the national media.
And he apparently thinks he can handle it by denying the responsibility of his title — and the law.
In a weekend interview with NBC Miami’s Erika Glover, Israel made it crystal clear that he did not feel he’s the one to blame for agency’s bungled reaction to the shooting that ended with three adults and 14 teenagers dead.
As Israel sees it, the behavior of at least one sheriff’s deputy who was on the scene of the Feb. 14 shooting but refused to enter the school building while the gunman was committing his carnage, can’t be placed at the sheriff’s feet. (Bombshell reports that three other deputies did the same thing were still being investigated, Israel said.)
As Israel also sees it, he’s also not to blame for the way his agency handled the numerous calls the sheriff’s office received about the shooter (even as Israel disputes just how many of those calls there were.)
“The people responsible are the ones who took the calls and didn’t follow up on them, as it was with the FBI, as it was with any person,” Israel told Glover.
“Leaders are responsible for the agency, but leaders are not responsible for a person. I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.”
Check out the video here:
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel refusing to resign telling @nbc6: “I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.” Clip from our one-on-one interview below. #DouglasHighSchool pic.twitter.com/FV5Gn0ZEBY
— Erika Glover 🎥 (@ErikaGloverNBC6) February 25, 2018
So, he gave the man a gun and a badge, but isn’t responsible for the deputy’s behavior on the scene of one of the worst school shootings in American history? (Had now-former Deputy Scot Patterson behaved heroically that day, does anyone doubt Israel would have been glad-handing for the national media, and taking credit for his self-proclaimed “amazing leadership”?)
Or, as Robert Laurie at HermanCain.com acidy summarized, “The buck stops anywhere but here.”
Actually, as Laurie pointed out, Florida law (State Statue 30.07) makes it abundantly clear who’s responsible for the performance of sheriff’s deputies – that would be the sheriff.
Florida lawmakers apparently take those “neglect and default” and “sheriff shall be responsible” parts seriously.
On Sunday, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran submitted a letter signed by 73 House members asking Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Israel from office, declaring “Sheriff Israel, his deputies, and staff ignored repeated warning signs about the violent, erratic, threatening and antisocial behavior of Nikolas Jacob Cruz.”
Israel so far has no intention of quitting, though Florida’s governor and its lawmakers will have something to say about that.
Sheriff Israel might go on camera to claim “it’s not my job,” when his deputies refuse to run into a building to save lives from a ruthless killer.
Florida law pretty clearly says otherwise.
How it plays out remains to be seen, but any way you look at it, it’s not a profile in courage.
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