We Must Make A New Law!
2020-07-31 03:11:31 UTC
MIAMI The former Florida deputy who stood outside instead of
confronting the gunman during last years Parkland school
massacre was arrested Tuesday on 11 criminal charges related to
Broward State Attorney Mike Satz said in a statement that 56-
year-old Scot Peterson faces child neglect, culpable negligence
and perjury charges that carry a combined potential maximum
prison sentence of nearly 100 years.
Peterson, then a Broward County deputy, was on duty as the
school resource officer during the February 2018 shooting at
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but never went inside while
bullets were flying. Seventeen people died and 17 others were
wounded in the attack.
One of the victims was 14-year-old Gina Montalto, whose father
Tony Montalto said families wanted justice to be done.
We are happy to see some accountability for this tragedy that
took the life of my daughter Gina and 16 other wonderful
individuals as well as terribly injured 17 others, said
Montalto, president of the Stand With Parkland victim families
Petersons bail was set at $102,000, Satz said. Once released,
Peterson will be required to wear a GPS monitor and surrender
his passport, and will be prohibited from possessing a firearm,
the prosecutor said.
Peterson lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo III didnt immediately respond to
a request for comment. In the past, he has defended Petersons
conduct as justified under the circumstances.
The charges follow a 14-month investigation by the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement, according to that agency.
The FDLE investigation shows former deputy Peterson did
absolutely nothing to mitigate the MSD shooting that killed 17
children, teachers and staff and injured 17 others, FDLE
Commissioner Rick Swearingen in an email statement said. There
can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that
his inaction cost lives.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican who was Florida governor when
the shooting happened, initiated the FDLE probe and said Tuesday
in a statement that he was glad the investigation was finished.
Now its time for justice to be served, Scott said.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said Peterson has been formally
terminated, although he announced his retirement shortly after
the shooting. Another deputy, former Sgt. Brian Miller, was also
fired, although he faces no criminal charges for his actions
Its never too late for accountability and justice, Tony said.
David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private
practice, said key to the case will be the culpable negligence
charge, which essentially means an utter disregard for the
safety of others.
They are focusing on the care he was required to give to the
students as a caregiver who was responsible for their welfare,
The Peterson arrest is the latest fallout from the Valentines
Day 2018 shooting. Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended then-Sheriff
Scott Israel for neglect of duty and incompetence over the
departments actions that day. Israel is appealing that decision
to the state Senate and said he intends to run again next year.
The case also spawned a state commission that issued a 458-page
report detailing a litany of errors before and during the
shooting, including unaggressive Broward deputies who stayed
outside the school building and the policies that led to that.
The commission also recommended voluntary arming of teachers,
which state lawmakers approved this year.
The chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public
Safety Commission, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, said
in an interview that the charges against Peterson are
Scott Peterson is a coward, a failure and a criminal,
Gualtieri said. There is no doubt in my mind that because he
didnt act, people were killed.
Nikolas Cruz , 20, faces the death penalty if convicted of the
first-degree murder charges filed in the attack. His lawyers
have said Cruz would plead guilty in return for a life sentence,
but prosecutors have refused that offer.
Cruz is expected to go on trial in early 2020.