The Florida Senate voted Wednesday to reject former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s (D) appeal to be reinstated to his job, after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suspended the disgraced chief for his department’s failures in responding to the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Following the Senate’s decision, Israel released a scathing statement, calling the proceedings “a sham,” and saying the office of Sheriff “is now subject to the petulant whims, political paybacks and personal piques of partisan tyrants in Tallahassee.”
What are the details?
In a 25-15 vote, the Florida Senate determined Gov. DeSantis made his case for removing Israel, and refused the suspended sheriff’s plea to have his job back. The votes fell largely along party lines, with three Democrats voting with the majority and one Republican voting to reinstate the disgraced sheriff.
The Miami Herald reported that the Senate’s removal of Israel won “praise from the families of the victims.” Many of them had testified during an emotional four-hour hearing prior to votes being cast.
Following the decision, Israel released a statement, which — in its introduction — appeared to take a humble tone:
First, my thoughts today are with those families and friends who lost loves ones on that horrific day in February 2018 – especially those who spoke in the Senate hearing Monday. I heard them, every single one. I wear their words every single day. My poor choice of words and inartful tone in the days following the Parkland murders caused them pain. I am deeply deeply sorry for that…and I will be for the rest of my life.
But Israel, a proud Democrat, went on to paint the proceedings as a rigged, partisan operation, condemning the governor and accusing Republicans of ignoring the will of the voters who elected him as sheriff.
“The process they used to steal your vote was a sham and by the Governor’s own admission simply ‘political,” Israel wrote, addressing his Broward County constituents. He added, “The office of Sheriff, once accountable to the people and the law is now subject to the petulant whims, political paybacks and personal piques of partisan tyrants in Tallahassee.”
The Herald reported that Israel’s attorney, Benedict Kuehne, “has said he is considering suing the Florida Senate for violating Israel’s due process rights before being removed from an office to which he had been elected by voters.”