Wonder how deputy sheriff Scot Peterson got to retire on a pension of nearly $9000 a month after failing to confront the Parkland school shooter? The parents of victims in that school shooting say Peterson got protected by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for helping to cover up a “lewd and lascivious” assault on another student by Israel’s own son. They want a probe into Israel and Peterson:
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel publicly criticized Peterson for his inaction during the shooting that left 17 dead and others wounded, but he didn’t fire the 54-year-old deputy, instead allowing him to resign. Local 10 News caught up with Peterson outside his home in Boynton Beach, where he is living on his $100,000-a-year public pension. The deputy, who had yet to face any media, simply turned and hurried inside, saying only, “Don’t come on my property.”
But now, a report that recently surfaced has some victims’ families calling for a renewed investigation of Peterson for a case he handled four years to the day prior to the massacre. The case involved two 17-year-old students bullying a 14-year-old freshman, with one holding down the younger boy by his ankles while the other kicked the victim, grabbed his genitals and then took the victim’s own baseball bat and began shoving it against his buttocks, simulating rape, through the boy’s clothes.
One of those assailants, the boy who allegedly held down the victim, was Israel’s son, Brett. Defense attorney Alex Arreaza, who represents shooting victim Anthony Borges, who was shot five times in the Valentine’s Day massacre but survived, said the case could have led to felony charges.
According to the victims’ families, this would explain why Peterson still had a job at the school despite his apparent incompetence. As Politico’s Marc Caputo reports, the parents believe this might explain why Peterson failed to act at a critical moment:
The two incidents – the Feb. 14 mass shooting and an alleged assault case four years before – are connected in the minds of some of the shooting victims’ parents, one of whom suggested to WPLG-10 that Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scot Peterson might have had job security for protecting the boss’s son.
“[Peterson] was lazy and this could have given him protection to keep his job at the school during those four years,” Parkland dad Andrew Pollack, told WPLG-10. Pollack, who is an ally of Gov. Rick Scott and sits on a special investigative committee into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, is suing the “coward” Peterson for failing to confront the shooter. …
The treatment of the sheriff’s son by Peterson has renewed criticisms from those who have said the Broward school system had lax discipline. Another parent told the station that he wondered “if Deputy Peterson would have been made to answer for this, he may have been replaced by a more competent deputy.”
Maybe, but one would have to find prior instances of incompetence by Peterson to make that allegation stick. His incompetence and lack of intestinal fortitude speaks for itself, but if that was the first display of either, then the Broward sheriff wouldn’t have had any reason to move Peterson.
The earlier incident with Israel’s son may not have been handled all that differently than other disciplinary incidents in the Broward system anyway. The Parkland shooter prompted lots of complaints, both to school officials and law enforcement, over his hostile and violent behavior, and yet no one referred him for prosecution — thanks to the PROMISE Program run by Arne Duncan in Barack Obama’s administration. Both Israel and superintendent Robert Runcie received accolades from Duncan and Obama for their commitment to the “diversion” program that left Nicolas Cruz free to escalate his behavior by purchasing firearms. Perhaps Israel was a big fan of this program because his own son benefited from it, despite his participation in a sexual assault on another student.
The more concerning issue here is that we’re still finding out information weeks later about the Parkland case that goes to the performance of the police and school district. All of this information should have come out immediately to the parents of the victims; instead, Israel and Runcie got national platforms to blame everyone else for their failures first. What else is still waiting to come out?