After hours of debate filled with gripping, emotional details about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre and soaring rhetoric about constitutional rights and the weighty responsibilities of elected officials, the Florida Senate voted Wednesday to permanently remove suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
The 25-15 vote was mostly along party lines with Republicans, who are a majority in the Senate and loyal to the Republican governor, generally supporting removal while most Democrats voted to reinstate the Democratic sheriff. All five Broward senators voted for reinstatement, despite the wishes of Parkland parents.
Israel, whose leadership was seen as so flawed by the governor and family members of Parkland victims that it contributed to some of the 17 deaths and 17 injuries, has been out off office since Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended him in January.
“I hope the outcome provides some measure of relief to the Parkland families that have been doggedly pursuing accountability,” DeSantis said in a statement after the vote. DeSantis cited incompetence and neglect of duty in connection with the 2018 Parkland massacre and the 2017 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting.