FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel addressed his forced removal from office for the first time since his suspension in a local radio interview.
Israel expressed his disappointment over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision on Mature Life Radio, Saturday.
“It’s demoralizing. It’s sad. It’s wrong,” he said.
Speaking with radio personality Big Man Kelly and 7News, the former sheriff indicated he performed his duties to the best of his abilities.
“I never betrayed my oath to this county,” said Israel.
Israel also reiterated his intent to seek legal action.
“We feel that the suspension was illegal. We feel the suspension was unwarranted,” he said. “I’ve done nothing, nothing remotely close to warranting a suspension, and we’ll go to court.”
DeSantis suspended Israel on Jan. 10, citing his handling of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“He said as a candidate he would’ve suspended me. He wasn’t privy to any reports. He wasn’t privy to any information,” said Israel.
During his radio appearance, Israel defended the department’s training, noting his deputies took down shooter Esteban Santiago within 72 seconds after he opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, 2017.
“Same sheriff, same training, same policies, same procedures,” he said.
Israel also addressed former BSO Deputy Scot Peterson’s actions during the Parkland massacre as the school’s resource officer.
“Sometimes when a person gets so scared, their cognitive skills, their reasoning goes out the window,” he said.
Israel said DeSantis’ actions are politically motivated, and Broward voters should be the ones to decide his fate.
“There’s a process in place in the Unites States of America to change that person, to ‘fire’ that person, if you will, and it’s called Election Day,” he said.
Israel said he plans to put that decision in front of his constituents, one way or another.
“I’m going to run for sheriff again. I hope and pray I get my job back long before that,” he said.
Israel plans to take his appeal to the Florida Senate in March.
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