FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony held a press conference on Wednesday morning after an investigation into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has been completed.
Tony said several deputies were investigated by internal affairs following the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 that left 17 dead and 17 others injured.
Some of these investigations were launched before Tony took command and others were conducted after.
The completed Stoneman Douglas internal affairs investigation incorporated a review of the performance of seven deputies employed out of the Parkland district who responded to the school’s campus.
Tony announced two of the deputies, Edward Eason and Joshua Stambaugh, were terminated on Tuesday following the investigation.
The investigation alleges that Eason watched students run from the school — the shooter among them. The investigation also alleges that Stambaugh took cover for five minutes before heading to a staging area several minutes away.
Scot Peterson and Brian Miller were fired in early June for neglect of duty.
“The deputy and sergeant were found to have neglected their duties at MSD High School,” noted a press release from BSO. “They have been terminated and will no longer be privileged to serve as law enforcement deputies for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.”
Peterson was also arrested on seven counts of child neglect, three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury. He spent two nights in jail before he posted bond.
Manny Oliver, who lost his son, Joaquin Oliver, in the MSD shooting, is set to go on tour with a play about his son. He said he agrees with the firings, but he wants to keep the conversation about guns.
“It’s never going to be enough,” he said. “I think they should be accountable, but I think that every time we discuss this, we move away from what it really matters to me, which is the gun violence all around the country.”
“Three remaining deputies were found not sustained, meaning no disciplinary action was taken against them,” said Tony.
A captain and lieutenant were also questioned for their response to the shooting, but they have since retired, BSO said.
They were not part of the investigation because the agency did not find the grounds to pull up their case.
Tony explained the process that led to the firings.
“We spent a lot of time looking at our policy, looking at the actions, looking at the statements that were provided by each of the deputies involved,” he said. “After we take that totality of facts, it became clear to me and our command staff that this was a neglect of duty. It was one of the most severe consequences, as we lost 17 people.”
“We were able to look and examine as a command staff with the performance aspects of the deputies that were out there that day,” Tony added.
The sheriff said he is now trying to make the changes needed to the agency that’s been highly criticized for its response after the shooting.
“As we conclude this final chapter for this organization, in terms of this internal affairs investigation, we are now going to continue to move forward with fixing the issues that exist here as they are related to training. We are ahead of the curve on that. We’re excelling, and we’re just getting started.”
He also mentioned two other internal affairs investigations currently being conducted.
One involves two deputies’ actions in the arrest of 15-year-old Delucca Rolle in Tamarac.
The second involves Deputy Jorge Sobrino, who was recorded punching a suspect who was handcuffed to a hospital bed in Pompano Beach.
“When we receive the finalized decision-making aspect from the State Attorney’s Office, it will come back into our office. Our command staff will examine it. It will make its way through its process through the Professional Standards Committee, and once all those things are checked and completed I will make a decision,” said Tony.
7News reached out to the president of the BSO union for comment on the firings and internal affairs investigations.
“From the union standpoint, we anticipated this move from the sheriff’s office,” President Jeff Bell said. “We’re disappointed that they chose to follow through with imposing final discipline, when they knew that the investigation that was started under the Scott Israel administration was bad when it started. We notified this agency. Certain laws and policies had been violated during the investigation, and they chose to move forward with final discipline, despite knowing that there’s serious problems with the investigation that we know will overturn this case ultimately.”
Tony said since the investigation has concluded, he will focus on other matters such as training and fixing issues inside the department.
However, the union said the fight is not over yet because the two deputies will appeal their terminations.
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