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Gov. DeSantis suspends Broward County Sheriff over handling of Parkland shooting

Posted: 8:46 PM, Jan 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-12 04:41:03Z
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida's new Governor announced the suspension of embattled Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Friday afternoon, nearly one year after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

WATCH GOVERNOR'S NEWS CONFERENCE:

"The massacre may never have happened had Broward had better leadership in the Sheriff's Department," said Gov. DeSantis, who announced that Gregory Tony will replace Sheriff Israel.

Tony is a former Sergeant with the Coral Springs Police Department.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement at Broward County's Public Safety Complex, and was joined by around a dozen parents whose children were killed in the Parkland school shooting.

"Sheriff Israel has repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership," said Gov. DeSantis, who mentioned the MSD shooting, as well as the Jan. 2017 mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

The Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported recently that Sheriff Scott Israel told his staff he expected to be removed.

Immediately after the announcement, Israel held his own news conference.

"Let me be clear, I wholeheartedly reject the statements in the Governor's executive order," said Israel, who called his suspension unjust. "This is about politics, not about Parkland."

WATCH SCOTT ISRAEL'S NEWS CONFERENCE:

Following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 dead, DeSantis said he'd suspend Sheriff Israel, but then backed off slightly, saying he would hold officeholders accountable.

Under Florida law, the governor can suspend elected officials for criminal activity, misfeasance, incompetence, or neglect of duty.

A state commission investigating the massacre recently concluded Israel's changes to the department's active shooter policy may have contributed to some deputies' inaction during the school shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.