9 Mar 2018
An op-ed in the Sun Sentinel claims that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is stonewalling the release of surveillance video that could clear up exactly what law enforcement did or failed to do in response to the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The paper has been trying to obtain the video taken “outside the school” during the shooting, only to be told that the only copy was given to Israel’s office and will not be released.
On Wednesday, the Sentinel reported:
Sheriff Israel doesn’t want to release the video, which is curious, given that he’s already given a detailed description of its substance. At a televised press conference eight days after the shooting, he said he felt “the public needed to know” that the video showed [deputy Scot] Peterson did “nothing” except get on his radio while shots were being fired. The sheriff said Peterson “never went in” as he should have.
But four days later, Peterson, through his lawyer, said the criticism was unwarranted and that the video (along with eyewitness testimony) will exonerate him.
We tried to get the video — and please note, we only seek the video taken outside the school — from Broward school district officials, but they apparently gave their only copy to [the Broward County Sheriff’s Office].
The paper also notes allegations that other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene but failed to go in. This, too, could be cleared up via the release of the video.
Moreover, the Sentinel suggests Israel’s arguments for not releasing the video are largely moot:
The sheriff argues that the video shouldn’t be released because it’s part of an active investigation. But the school district isn’t a law enforcement agency and so can’t claim “active criminal investigation.” Plus, there’s an exemption if the information has already been disclosed, as it has. Plus, the video doesn’t show the shootings, but law enforcement’s response. Plus, [Nikolas Cruz] has already confessed.
On February 22, Breitbart News reported that Deputy Peterson resigned, rather than face suspension, after being called out by Israel. Peterson wants the video released so the public can see what happened.