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Senate Begins Trial of Suspended Broward County Sheriff

October 21st, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

A historic trial is under way in the state Capitol.

State Senators must decide if the Governor had justification to suspend the Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel after the Parkland school shooting.

Parents who lost their children in the 2018 Valentines day school massacre blame the sheriff for their loss.

“The deadly danger posed by the killer was one of the worst kept secrets. Every relevant authority knew he was deeply troubled with the potential for lethal violence,” said Ryan Petty who lost his daughter at Parkland.

Hunter Pollack lost his sister Meadow.

“We lost a piece of our heart. Meadow was the rock in our family. My mom’s not the same, my brothers not the same,” said Pollack.

Senators must decide if the Governor had sufficient reason to remove Israel.

Special Master Dudley Goodlet ruled against the Governor.

“Peterson was trained to confront, he just didn’t do it. Madrigal was trained to confront. He did it,” said Senator Gary Farmer, comparing the School Resource Officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s actions to another Broward Sheriff’s Deputy who confronted the assailant during the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting.

“That was the basis for the recommendation and the conclusions in my report. There was sort of a hero and a coward,” said Goodlet.

It appeared Democrats were backing the sheriff who is a Democrat in a Democratic county, while Republicans appeared to be leaning toward removal.

The Governor’s lawyer George Levesque said the partisan nature of the hearing was okay.

“At the end of the day, it is a political decision,” said Levesque.

But Scott Israel’s attorney Ben Kuchne left the door open for a federal challenge.

“Review of the Special Masters report is to be based on evidence, not conjecture, not arbitrariness, not speculation,” said Kuchne.

There are, ironically, 17 members on the committee.

The same number of people who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Because emotions are running so high, extra security will be in place at the Capitol until the trial is complete

The hearing continues at the state Capitol.

The rules committee is expected to vote just on its recommendation just before nine Monday evening.

The full Senate, where 40 votes will determine the Sheriffs future, will vote on Wednesday.

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