Of all the tragedies surrounding the story of Nikolas Cruz and the Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida, none is as frustrating as the story of Scot Peterson.
As children and teachers were gunned down within the school on that fateful morning, Peterson did nothing. This is despite his role as security officer for the school, in spite of the gun on his hip, and his inaction flies in the face of the training he received during his time with the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.
His unwillingness to confront Cruz, the shooter, undoubtedly led to a loss of life greater than what would have occurred otherwise.
Now it may be time for Peterson to face that reality.
Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High resource officer Scot Peterson, 56, was arrested Tuesday on charges relating to failure to enter the school during the mass shooting there.
He was charged in Broward County with seven counts of neglect of a child, three counts of culpable negligence and one of perjury after a 15-month investigation, according to a news release from Florida authorities.
The charges carry a combined potential prison sentence of nearly 100 years for the officer blasted by many critics as the “Coward of Broward.”
The language surrounding Peterson’s charges was stern.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (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,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.”
Investigators interviewed 184 witnesses and reviewed hours of video surveillance to determine the response of law enforcement, Fox 13 reported.
“It’s never too late for accountability and justice,” Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
Controversy has long surrounded the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shooting after it was revealed that officers had taken little to no action in several criminal cases involving students in Parkland, as this skewing of data allowed the school to rake in federal grant money for their “safe” statistics.
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