There’s more trouble for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
On September 25, a school resource officer who was a deputy from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office allegedly grabbed a 15-year-old female student by the neck and body-slammed her to the ground at Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach, Florida. On September 27, a BCPS Special Investigative Unit reported the incident involving Willard Miller, 38, to BSO’s Internal Affairs Division. After the video was examined, Miller no longer worked at the school, and was placed on administrative assignment, as First Coast News reports.
One month later, on Oct. 23, the State Attorney’s Office received the case; Miller was suspended without pay on Oct. 28. Miller, 38, turned himself in to police after video surfaced of the incident; he was arrested on November 5.
A Broward County deputy assigned as a resource officer has been arrested after body-slamming a student to the ground on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/IRCdUJlPxW
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 5, 2019
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has been the subject of withering criticism since the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 in which a gunman murdered 17 people and wounded 17 others. As USA Today reported:
Broward County deputies received at least 18 calls warning them about (the shooter) from 2008 to 2017, including concerns that he “planned to shoot up the school” and other threats and acts of violence before he was accused of killing 17 people at a high school. The warnings, made by concerned people close to (the shooter), came in phone calls to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, records show. At least five callers mentioned concern over his access to weapons, according to the documents. None of those warnings led to direct intervention.
Then-Sheriff Scott Israel, who was removed from his post earlier this year and replaced by Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, is running as a candidate for his old job in the Democratic primary. On Monday Tony announced he is running for reelection.
Scott Israel was widely condemned for his actions involving the massacre as well as his actions during the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; the Sun-Sentinel wrote in December 2018:
… on his two biggest tests — the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas — Israel came up short.
Worse, the sheriff fails to accept responsibility for what went wrong, suggesting instead that things couldn’t have been done better. If he fails to acknowledge that mistakes were made — not only by individuals, but by his command — how can we expect a better outcome next time?
After the Stoneman Douglas shooting, the sheriff argued that a general can’t be blamed if a single soldier fails to do his job. He was referring to School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who failed to pursue the shooter after reporting “shots fired.” The commission’s report says Peterson waited 45 minutes to enter the school and warned others to stay away, too.
But Peterson was not alone. While a great many BSO deputies demonstrated bravery that day, far too many showed cowardice, hiding behind trees, cars and walls …
Given Sheriff Israel’s failure to learn from history — and the failure of his command during our community’s most horrific events — we now stand with those who believe he should be removed and replaced.