Things keep getting worse for Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. He faced national backlash in the wake of the massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting left 17 people dead.
Now Israel is facing a rebuke from his own deputies. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association announced that they were calling for a “no-confidence” vote on Israel and today the vote was cast with 534 out of 628 against the sheriff.
“Deputies and sergeants cast their ballots to say ‘Sheriff, we no longer have confidence in your leadership’,” said union BSO Deputies Association President Jeff Bell, according to CBS Miami.
“The time now is for the Sheriff to listen to his membership and listen to the residents of Broward County,” continued Bell. “We ask you to start changing your policies that are absolutely failing, we ask you to change your leadership to something that somewhat resembling amazing.”
This last comment was probably taking a jab at Israel’s past rhetoric describing his “amazing leadership” as sheriff.
The list of grievances about Israel’s leadership is alarming. There were dozens of visits to the shooters home that never resulted in an arrest; the county’s practice of avoiding juvenile arrests even for serious and violent crimes; the failure of deputies to enter the school and engage the shooter; and the sheriff’s actions in the wake of the shooting.
You can add this this list the shooter’s brother being arrested on the school campus and a deputy caught sleeping while on duty.
Israel attempted to dismiss the union’s efforts as “really and truly inconsequential,” and he attempted to smear the vote as a tactic in the deputies’ salary negotiations.
After the vote, Israel tweeted this:
Sheriff Israel responds to IUPA vote: pic.twitter.com/RCuoz0Y9cO
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) April 26, 2018
Jeff Bell rejected Israel’s defense noting that the deputies’ frustrations were building for years and the shooting at Parkland was just the tipping point.
“The sheriff is a complete liar, with Capital letters on that,” said Bell. “This has never been about a contract, this has been about his longstanding bad policies, his failure of leadership.”
The union is now asking Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) to remove Israel from office. According to Florida law, the governor has the right to suspend a sheriff for “malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty,” and appoint a replacement sheriff during the suspension period. Officially removing Israel from his position would require action by the Florida Senate.
A spokesperson for Gov. Scott issued this statement after the union vote indicating that Scott was “absolutely disgusted that the BSO deputy did not rush into the school to save these victims,” and that the governor was waiting for “a full and systemic FDLE investigation into the matter” before taking action.
Florida governor responds to IUPA-BSO vote today. Says he will wait for FDLE investigation to be complete before taking additional steps, like removing Scott Israel. pic.twitter.com/63Ll0yD7CJ
— Frank Guzman (@fguzmanon7) April 26, 2018