The former School Resource Officer who stood outside with his gun in his hand while Nikolas Cruz continued his shooting spree inside a Florida high school is now receiving $8,700 a month in pension payments. The Miami Herald reports:
Peterson’s monthly pension, which began in April, clocks in at $8,702.35, according to a report from the South Florida Sun Sentinel published Tuesday evening. That’s $104,428.20 per year in pension payments, compared to the $101,879.03 he was paid last year, the Sun Sentinel reports.
“The thing he was supposed to do — protect these children — he didn’t do,” Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine told the Miami Herald Tuesday. “Now he’s going to be paid by taxpayers for the rest of his life? It seems disgraceful.”
Peterson remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement which is expected to release a final report this month outlining what went wrong with the law enforcement response to the shooting. The Sun Sentinel reports that Peterson could lose his pension if he’s convicted of a crime such as “embezzlement or bribery.” However, there’s no indication that he was involved in anything like that. Cowardice is apparently not a disqualifier.
Fathers of two of the victims of the Parkland shooting expressed their disgust over Peterson’s generous pension on Twitter. Fred Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was killed in the attack.
This infuriates me in ways people cannot comprehend. My daughter would still be alive if this person did his job.https://t.co/MVYtMKjtGh
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 16, 2018
Andrew Pollack, the father of victim Meadow Pollack, also responded:
The coward of broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered! How in the hell is he getting this?
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) May 16, 2018
As a parent, you can imagine wishing you’d had the proximity to the school at the moment this took place which would have allowed you to run inside and confront the shooter. Peterson had that opportunity and squandered it. There’s no way of knowing how many lives he might have saved if he’d gone inside and engaged Cruz but the fact that he didn’t even try is inexcusable.
Andrew Pollack filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson last month. When announcing the suit, Pollack said he wasn’t looking for money but wanted to make Peterson pay another kind of price for his cowardice:
“I’m not interested in any money,” said Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed. “I just want to expose what a coward [Peterson] was and that he could’ve saved everybody on the third floor. I don’t want him to go anywhere in the country and not have people recognize what a coward he is.”
A lot may depend on what the FDLE report concludes but it’s widely accepted that confronting an active shooter is the right thing for police to do. Peterson, through his attorney, has claimed he thought the shots were coming from somewhere outside. However, radio traffic from the day of the shooting features Peterson saying, “I think we have shots fired, possible shorts fired —1200 building.” Moments later he warned other police officers to stay “500 feet back” from the building, clearly aware the shots were happening inside.
Here’s hoping the state comes up with some creative way to strip Peterson of his pension. It really is a disgrace that the person who stood around while the shooting took place is guaranteed a lifetime of ease on the taxpayer’s dime.