Former Parkland student Kyle Kashuv slammed the South Florida Sun-Sentinel over its endorsement of Scott Israel, who was previously ousted as the Broward County sheriff over his department’s handling of the massacre that took place Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.
The editorial board of the Florida paper acknowledged on Friday that its endorsement of Israel “will be poorly received among the families shattered” by the mass shooting that left 17 dead, stressing it was “our most difficult endorsement decision” amid the Democratic primary.
The board argued that the incumbent, Gregory Tony, “should not have been appointed and does not deserve to be elected” and the four other candidates “lack sufficient money and political support to be competitive.”
“Many of [the Parkland families] held Israel to blame, as did Gov. Ron DeSantis when he carried out a campaign promise to suspend him. We thought so too, at first, and advised then-governor Rick Scott to remove Israel,” the editorial board explained. “With time, however, that judgment seems harsh. Israel could not have prevented the tragedy. The school system was more to blame. So was the FBI, which did nothing about a credible warning of a potential school shooter. Israel’s most serious failing was a policy that left it to a deputy’s discretion whether to engage an active shooter. Overall, Israel had been a good sheriff.”
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The Sun-Sentinel argued the department would be in “better hands” with Israel over Tony, who the paper said “lied” to Gov. DeSantis to get the job and pointed to various aspects of his past to undermine his credibility.
The paper defended Israel against scrutiny from the massacre, saying he “could not have known that Scot Peterson, the decorated deputy assigned to the high school in Parkland, would prove to be a coward” by waiting outside the school as the shooting took place.
“Israel might never have been removed had he taken responsibility for what happened, rather than credit for the response, which the Sun Sentinel’s reporting proved to be untrue. For BSO’s response was his responsibility, if not his fault. There is a difference,” the Sun-Sentinel explained.
The editorial board went on to slam DeSantis’ “hasty choice” in Israel’s replacement. accusing the GOP official of not conducting a “proper background investigation” on Tony over his involvement in a shooting when he was a minor. The paper also knocked the governor for “mishandling” Israel’s suspension.
Kashuv trashed the Florida paper’s support for the ex-sheriff.
“Sheriff Scott Israel had dozens of reports about the shooter at my school and the dager he posed. Dozens,” Kashuv said in a statement to Fox News. “During the shooting, officers of his department hid behind trees rather than enter the building. Scott Israel’s incompetence contributed to this entirely preventable tragedy. He utterly failed the people of Parkland.”
He added, “A glowing endorsement from the Sun-Sentinel is a slap in the face to everyone affected by the tragedy. This is a travesty.”
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Ryan Petty, father of 14-year-old Parkland victim Alaina Petty, also knocked the endorsement.
“For the @SunSentinel editorial board, this endorsement is as much an attack on @GovRonDeSantis as it an endorsement of a candidate,” Petty wrote.
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On Wednesday, Scott Israel was hospitalized after he tested positive for the coronavirus and was discharged the next day.
“My fight with COVID-19 is not over but my condition has improved enough that my place in the hospital could be taken by another fighting this virus. I return home tonight grateful to finish out my treatment and recuperation and to strengthen for the coming days,” Israel said on Thursday in a statement posted on his campaign’s Facebook page.