Just when it seemed like the government incompetence surrounding the events leading up to the Parkland, Florida high school massacre couldn’t get any worse, new information reveals that political motivations and bad policy in the leadership at the sheriff’s office had a pivotal role in failing to prevent the shooting.
First, it was the FBI. A tip that outlined the shooter’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” was given to the FBI only six weeks before the deadly massacre occurred, NBC reported. The FBI failed to follow up.
Then, it was local law enforcement. Multiple agents within the Broward County Sheriff’s department cowered in the face of danger, and waited outside the Stoneman Douglas high school as innocent students were killed inside.
And there’s more: According to CNN, “Records obtained from the sheriff’s office by CNN show the law enforcement agency received at least 45 calls for service relating to Cruz or his brother from 2008 to 2017, before the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14.”
So was it pure incompetence, or was something more sinister at play? It may have been both.
According to a report from RedState, a deeply embedded system of public corruption at the sheriff’s department may be to blame for the murderous shooter slipping right through the sheriff department’s fingers. As reported by CNN, dozens of calls were made to local law enforcement about Nickolas Cruz with descriptions such as “mentally ill person,” “child/elderly abuse,” “domestic disturbance,” “missing person,” and more. Most of those warning calls resulted in “no written report.”
What in the world would have motivated an “oversight” like that? According to RedState, it all comes back to Sheriff Israel.
First elected as sheriff in 2012, Israel’s run for re-election in 2016 was highly criticized and controversial, according to an August 2016 report from Sun Sentinel.
“Sheriff Scott Israel has hired from the ranks of his political supporters, building a community outreach wing his critics say doubles as a re-election team,” the Sentinel explained. “Israel’s opponents say he’s built a publicly funded political machine, paying back supporters with jobs and using them to keep him in office. They say the money could be better spent, particularly after the sheriff complained about not having enough funding to secure the county courthouse, where a murder suspect recently escaped.”
In other words, Israel rewarded his political supporters with high-paying cushy jobs within the sheriff’s office. The outreach manager position, for example, earned a $78,489 salary. That position was held by the husband of Israel’s campaign manager, the Sentinel reported.
So, a group of unqualified people filled the positions at the sheriff’s office. And we wonder why they failed to stop Nickolas Cruz?
It gets worse. An ominous foreshadowing of the deadly shooting was revealed in the form of a 2016 sheriff re-election campaign questionnaire. “Why are you running and what gives you an edge over your opponents?” the questionnaire asked Israel.
See Israel’s answer below:
I am the incumbent Sheriff for the past four years, and a career law enforcement officer with over three decades in the profession. The results speak for themselves. As our sheriff, I successfully implemented new policies and approaches to public safety that sharply reduced violent crime and burglary rates – the sharpest declines in the entire State of Florida. My innovative initiatives also helped keep children in school and out of jail, greatly expanding the juvenile civil citation program and making issuance of civil citations mandatory for BSO deputies. I worked to combat gun violence by openly lobbying legislators to curtail Stand Your Ground, block open carry legislation, and block legislation allowing concealed guns on school campuses.
You read that right. Policies put into place within the sheriff’s department by Israel Scott discouraged arresting or expelling juveniles, apparently even if their behavior was violent or threatening.
Cruz had a history of violence at school and was never officially expelled. He had a history of violent behavior at home but was never arrested. And one day, he stormed into a school building and murdered 17 innocent people — but it was too late.
When pressed for answers on allegations about his alleged public corruption, Israel deflected. “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep,” he reportedly said at the time.
And lions apparently care more about their own interests than the lives of those they swore to protect.