Hopefully, his shameful saga is over.
After two-plus years of dealing with the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the aftermath of that tragedy, it might be safe to say that one of the woeful chapters from that event may finally be closing. The Sheriff who was a main player in that shooting — Scott Israel — has been a contemptuous player ever since, but he might have just been granted his walking papers.
Last night closed the Florida primary voting and in it, Israel lost the Democrat nomination to the standing Broward County Sheriff, Gregory Tony, the man who supplanted Israel. Following long months of revealed bad acts and incompetence regarding the shooting in Parkland, it took the election win of current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to have action taken.
In one of his first acts of office, DeSantis came to Broward to announce that he was removing Israel, placing Gregory Tony as the new acting Sheriff. This move was largely met with relief and praise, especially from the parents of the Parkland parents. Israel however was not going quietly. The disgraced officer pledged, and delivered, on his promise of battling DeSantis’ decision both in the Florida legislature and in the courts. In those instances, it was decided that the Governor had acted within his powers by removing Israel.
His final salvo in retaining his career was to run for the office from which he had been extracted. The campaign between him and Tony here in Broward had been expectedly contentious. While Israel’s Parkland actions were highlighted Tony faced some harsh accusations of his own from the heavily-backed Israel campaign, including a shooting he had been involved with as a teenager. In the end, Gregory Tony earned the nomination with a two-percentage-point advantage.
One of the jarring episodes to come out of this election had been one local news outlet endorsing Israel. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel backed the former Sheriff in the primary, a surprising turn given the paper won the Pulitzer Prize for its extensive coverage of the Parkland shooting, and its aftermath. There had been numerous times the paper detailed some of the failings of Israel and his department. Yet they backed the man so many wanted to see gone.
It remains to be seen if Israel will now fade into history, or if he will look to reenter the scene once again. Hopefully, now this community can begin to look forward, instead of continuing to relive that tragedy.