The more we find out, the worse this gets
The latest Florida school shooting is not just tragic, but as one reader pointed out, atrocious. Atrocious because every law enforcement agency involved ignored eleventy billion (approximately) red flags.
As more information becomes available, it’s looking more and more like there are some serious problems within the Broward County Sherrif’s department. We’ve chronicled several of those here, here, and here.
The failure of the designated school officer to engage the shooter (he’s now defending himself, saying he believed the shooting was happening outside of the school), then the revelation that four officers sat outside during the bloodbath, EMT’s who weren’t allowed to enter the school and begin working to save the wounded, and that’s just the beginning of what’s turning into an all-out scandal.
Most recently, Buzzfeed reported, based on dispatch records they obtained, that the number of calls to the Cruz home was double that disclosed by the BCSD. Most of the calls not mentioned by the BCSD were for domestic disturbance issues, fights between Cruz and his brother, or the like. Nonetheless, they were not included in reports and records released by Broward County.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel refuses to resign and blames the officer on duty for his failure to engage the shooter:
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel refusing to resign telling @nbc6: "I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility." Clip from our one-on-one interview below. #DouglasHighSchool pic.twitter.com/FV5Gn0ZEBY
— Erika Glover ???? (@ErikaGloverNBC6) February 25, 2018
As heat on the department has intensified, the Broward County Sheriff’s office strongly encouraged all employees to “stand as one” against a “flurry of media allegations.”
— Debra Heine (@NiceDeb) February 27, 2018
For several days, a story suggesting Broward County softened policies against juveniles has made its way around the internet. This story alleges the Broward County Sheriff’s Department was in cahoots with the Broward County School District. An arrangement of some kind was made wherein BCSD would go easy on minors in order to artificially inflate crime statistics, helping both the department and the school district to obtain grant money.
The nagging question here: why didn’t Broward County officials take repeated warnings about Cruz seriously? This theory may provide some context.
Whether or not this theory is true, we don’t know. What we do know is that according to a handful of experts, Cruz could have faced charges well before he went on a murder rampage had Broward County handled his case differently or even handled his case like other departments in the area.
From the Miami Herald:
His troubling behavior gave law enforcement plenty of opportunities to investigate and arrest him — and even take away his guns — long before he shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last week, according to interviews with former South Florida prosecutors and legal experts.
In recent years, South Florida police detectives have arrested a slew of young men in unrelated cases who exhibited similar, troubling behavior on a variety of charges. Cops took them seriously.
It never happened with Cruz.
“There’s no doubt there was a failure,” former Miami-Dade prosecutor Marshall Dore Louis said of how law enforcement handled tips about Cruz. “The idea that they were aware of it and could do nothing is absurd. … We can’t let this happen again.”
…“The standard isn’t whether that information itself was ‘arrestable’ but whether law enforcement had an obligation to investigate a violation of the law,” said John Priovolos, a former Miami prosecutor. “A detective should have been assigned. Subpoenas should have been sent to Instagram to locate the IP address and verify it was Cruz.
“Cruz could have been arrested — maybe he would have been diverted to a mental-health court, but he would have been under some sort of supervision.”
Even if a case couldn’t have been made, the teen might have been placed squarely on the radar of police analysts who monitor potentially dangerous people who post online, Priovolos said.
“At the very least, the most capable intelligence detectives should have been monitoring him,” Priovolos said.
But none of that happened. And now 17 people are dead.DONATE
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