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Sheriff Scott Israel must resign. His leadership of the Broward County police department is not just untenable. It has become a national disgrace—a scandal that can no longer be ignored.
In the wake of the school mass shooting in Florida, the media was quick to demand gun control. The Democrats—led by its propaganda arm, CNN—cried out that Nikolas Cruz massacred 17 students and teachers for one reason: He had access to an AR-15. Liberals insisted take away all “assault weapons,” otherwise school atrocities will continue.
A key ally pushing this anti-gun, anti-NRA narrative was Israel. The Democratic sheriff appeared at the CNN show trial masquerading as a town hall. He publicly excoriated NRA spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, claiming she didn’t care about protecting kids because she refused to call for “less weapons” on the streets. In other words, Israel was grandstanding in front of a partisan, hysterical mob.
In reality, however, he was desperately trying to deflect attention from his own criminal negligence and gross incompetence. His own deputy assigned to protect Stoneman Douglas High School, Scot Peterson, refused to enter and engage Cruz. In fact, Peterson stood outside the building where students were being murdered for four long minutes, holding a gun and doing nothing. Moreover, three more Broward County police officers were on the scene as shots began to be fired. Their response: nothing. They hid behind police cruisers, waving their firearms, and were chatting on the radio. If the Broward police had done their job, most of the victims (and maybe all) would be alive today.
Which begs the question: Why didn’t the officers rush in, as police protocol demands? The answer is simple—and sickening: They were ordered to stand down. The alleged reason is because the Broward cops didn’t have body cameras. Hence, without cameras, the officers were told they didn’t have permission to confront Cruz. Think about that: Due to some procedural technicality, Israel’s officers stood by and allowed children to be massacred by a maniac. Israel has innocent blood on his hands.
Yet, it wasn’t just the Broward police who were told to stand down. So were the EMT first responders. Arriving on the scene, while students’ lives were hanging in the balance, first responders now say they were prevented from going into the school by Israel’s officers. EMT personnel have told local media they are convinced lives could have been saved. When seconds counted, the cowards of Broward County let minutes tick away, spelling doom for wounded students, who desperately needed assistance.
And it gets worse. The Broward County Sheriff’s department received over 45 calls from Cruz’s family members, friends, neighbors and teachers complaining about his erratic, violent anti-social behavior. Red flags were everywhere. He used a BB gun to shoot up the windows of his neighbors; he kidnapped, tortured and killed their pets; he threatened to murder or assault fellow students; his mother called the police to report he was beating her; he held a gun to his brother’s head; he trashed a friend’s mobile home and destroyed property; and he posted obscene pictures of himself mutilating animals and with an arsenal of weapons, vowing that he would become “a professional school shooter.” A close family friend specifically warned the department that Cruz was going to “shoot up” Douglas High School. Cruz himself called just after Thanksgiving in 2017, saying he needed help due to his rage, alienation and dark thoughts.
Instead of acting, the Broward police department turned a blind eye. Why? Because Israel was more interested in liberal politics than keeping the public safe. Under an Obama-era program, schools, such as those in Parkland, were encouraged to participate in reducing the rate of juvenile delinquency. The fewer high school students arrested, the more federal grant money schools would receive—and the better the police department’s crime statistics would look. Thus, there was a perverse incentive to not do anything about sick, evil teenagers like Cruz. This is why he was never arrested, no matter how outrageous or malevolent his behavior.
The result, however, is 17 dead and numerous families destroyed by grief. Yet, what is most disturbing has been Israel’s behavior after the shooting. Confronted by his numerous failures and shocking incompetence, he claims he has provided “amazing leadership.” Israel has compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Soon the comparison will be to Jesus. Nearly one-hundred Florida lawmakers—including the state House Speaker—have demanded he step down. Israel’s response was to quote a line from the cable TV series, Game of Thrones: Lions don’t concern themselves with the opinions of sheep.
He is a delusional, narcissistic megalomaniac, who has no business being a law enforcement officer—never mind a sheriff of a major county department. He is Florida’s version of Inspector Clouseau, the incompetent buffoon police officer brilliantly portrayed by Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies. With one crucial difference: Israel is real, the Pink Panther isn’t.
Israel must go. If he refuses, then Florida Gov. Rick Scott should move decisively to remove him. Israel should not only be forced out; his pension should be revoked. He needs to be shamed and rebuked. Maybe this will wipe that silly grin off his face.
-Jeffrey T. Kuhner is host of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.