Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was all bluster and tough talk during the CNN town hall, where he sat opposite of NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and proceeded to lambaste her and the NRA as if they were responsible for the 17 innocents slain under his watch.
It was at that witch hunt when Israel said the footage of the shooting as taken from the body camera of Deputy Scot Peterson and others should be released to the public.
But suddenly, Israel did a 180 and is now refusing to release the footage. According to the Miami Herald, his excuse for his about-face is because the footage could reveal important tactical information and may interfere with the investigation:
First, Israel himself has said that the public needs to know this information. He’s right, and he should accommodate the people on whose behalf he and his deputies work. This is an extraordinary case in which his department bears a large share of responsibility for Cruz getting as far as he did without interference. Warning signs about Cruz’s dangerous mental state had come to the department’s attention over at least a decade.
Instead, Israel refuses to release the recordings, arguing that they are exempt from the state’s public record laws. He says that they reveal security plans and are part of ongoing investigations.
As the Miami Herald says later, if there was any tactical data to be gathered here, it’s footage that will give every other force a guide on what NOT to do:
Last week, the Herald obtained documents that show a BSO captain ordered deputies to form a perimeter, possibly after the shooting was over, and not telling them to rush into the building. This contradicts what Israel said was the protocol.
No, what the videos would reveal are not “security plans,” as the sheriff claims. Rather they will reveal that there was probably confusion over the plan, or flawed communication of said plan.
It’s obvious that, whatever the plan, it was hopelessly bungled that awful afternoon of Feb. 14. What in the world could the release of the video recordings possibly compromise now?
Israel has demonstrated that he’s more of a showman than a police officer. Even his policies on student arrests seem to suggest that he would cease arresting lawbreaking students in order to make his records look good in return for Federal dollars to pad his bank account. Everything, including his tough-talking performance at the expense of Loesch — who is swiftly being vindicated — as well as his passing off of the failures at the Stoneman Douglas High shooting to his deputies suggests Israel is saying and doing what is necessary in order to protect his own reputation.
At this point his reputation is trash despite his best efforts. He should release the footage, accept his failures, resign, and let the investigation move on with more competent police officers in charge.