TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A special master hired by the Florida Senate has recommended that Broward Sheriff Scott Israel be reinstated after Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended him from office for "failed leadership" following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting.
On Jan 11, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Israel from his position as Broward County Sheriff, citing neglect of duty and incompetence. Now, a special master appointed by the Florida Senate says he should get his job back.
In the report, the special master breaks down the reasons why Gov. DeSantis chose to suspended Israel and found fault with some of the governor's assertions that Israel failed to provide adequate training to his deputies and failed to staff posts properly in both the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting on February 14, 2018 and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting on January 6, 2017.
"In sum, the Governor has not offered any evidence for how Sheriff Israel could have prevented the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting," the special master wrote.
While the special master did not absolve Israel and the sheriff's office from blame, he determined that the evidence doesn't support a removal from office.
"At bottom, Sheriff Israel and the BSO are not blameless for the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas," the special master wrote. "I agree with the MSD Commission that mistakes were made and areas should be improved. That said, the evidence offered has not demonstrated that Sheriff Israel should be removed from office based on this incident."
A total of 17 people were killed in the mass shooting.
The Florida Senate will hold a special session between Oct. 21-Oct. 25 to review the report and consider whether to reinstate or remove Sheriff Israel for good.