Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Refuses to Explain His Office's Failures to Congress

He "let the American people down and also the citizens of Florida," according to Sen. Chuck Grassley.


Lannis Waters/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Scott Israel, the embattled sheriff of Florida's Broward County, won't answer Congress's questions about a collective failure to prevent the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Israel was asked to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on school safety and gun control this week. Both Israel and Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Michael Carroll refused the request, earning a stern rebuke from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the committee.

"By thumbing their noses at Congress, Sheriff Israel and Secretary Carroll have let the American people down and also the citizens of Florida they serve," said Grassley, according to The Hill. "[T]he Broward County Sheriff and Department of Children and Families are integral to the Parkland fact pattern."

Perhaps it's no surprise that Israel and Carroll were unwilling to subject themselves to Congressional criticism, but Israel was perfectly happy to appear on television in the immediate wake of the tragedy, before his own office's mistakes became the story. Israel really does seem like a consummate media opportunist: eager to commandeer the spotlight when it makes him look strong and decisive, uninterested in being held publicly accountable for the numerous errors his officers committed. Recall Israel's own appraisal of his leadership: "amazing."

The Department of Children and Families, Florida's version of child protective services, has plenty to answer for as well. In 2016, the agency mistakenly determined that Nikolas Cruz posed no threat to himself or others.

At the hearing on Wednesday, FBI Deputy Director Bill Bowdich took some responsibility for his agency's missteps. The FBI had learned that Cruz was mutilating small animals, possessed a cache of weapons, had threatened other family members, and was planning to shoot up a school, but agents did not follow up on this information.

"We made mistakes here, no question about it," said Bowdich, according to The Los Angeles Times. "That said, even if we had done everything right, I'm not sure we could have stopped the attack."

It's true that not every horrific tragedy can be prevented by law enforcement, even if everyone does their jobs. But the public entities involved in the Parkland incident did everything wrong: in the weeks leading up to the shooting, and even as it was unfolding. They should be held accountable; Israel, too.

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  1. They will not be held accountable. It just isn’t done. Holding them accountable would harm the Public Trust, and that’s just not an option. If that were to happen people would realize their government is not a god, but is just people.

    1. They will only be held accountable if the people who support the Second Amendment manage to gain and keep control of the narrative. The Gun Control advocates are desperate not only to focus on the availability of guns, but away from the failures of Authority. If they admit that the State is often a bunch of work-shy stumblebums they will have to admit that the populace has a natural right to arms itself.

      1. If one coward cringing outside a school does not keep the students alive, then we obviously need more cowards to cringe outside the school while the students die. It’s simple liberal math.

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  2. I don’t really see this as an FBI matter. Nor do I want CPS to learn the lesson that they need to institutionalize every child.

    This really comes down to the police on the scene failing to do anything before or during the shooting.

    1. What it really comes down to is; the State is not competent to take to itself the duty to protect the citizenry. That they must do for themselves.

    2. “I don’t really see this as an FBI matter.”

      Exactly. Why in Hell, whenever this stuff takes place, in 5 seconds there are 800 FBI, DEA and ATF employees swarming all over the place? It’s ineffective, unnecessary and downright dangerous.

      1. No body want to do jack shit they don’t have to do before something happens, but when it does it’s all hands on deck be present and accounted for and act like you really truly give a fuck and engage in bureau speak and tell us how amazing they are.

        At least that is how I see it.

    3. correction: this one does NOT come down to the ones who refused to go in once the shooting started, No way. This one comes down to the more behind the scenes law enforcement and school district officials who cared more about betting their $54Mn “reward” for “reducing” their “arrest rates”.. which they DID indeed do. BUT the way they did that was NOT to reduce criminal actions by student age people within their county. The shooter (I REFUSE to repeat his name….) had committed at least three criminal acts that SHOULD have been dealt with as the criminal actionis they were, AND he had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for more than 72 hours. EACH of those four “incidents” will disqualify any of the rest of us from possessioni of firearms. By consciously choosing to NOT report these events, this perp’s criminal history was NOT entered into the Background Check Database…. if ANY of the four events had been, he would NOT have been able to possess any guns, let alone buy the ones he did. We al must suffer the insult, time, expense of background checks wherever WE want to buy or sell a firearm. But if the data are not reported AS REQUIRED, criminals like this dirtbag can buy when they mayn’t.

      1. This is a rerun of the recent Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting.. there some Air Force desk jockey failed to report the shooter’s domestic violence, near murder of his son, and less than honourable discharge from the USAF. ANY ONE of these three would have prohibited him possession of firearms. BUT.. NICS never got the data in either case, because some dweeb refused, or failed, or both, to report mandatory disqualifying history. Once the perp has a gun bought “legally” no amount of courageous coppers or armed teachers at the school/church will prevent the perp from trying.. and some are all but certain to die.

  3. We currently enjoy an Orwellian nightmare: cops have no duty to protect individuals while, as a practical matter, they have almost unlimited power to abuse you.

    1. How is that different from any other time in history?

      1. We pretend like it’s different — in the past the city guard would just bonk you on the head and take your coin purse; you would never expect for there to be justice for that.

        1. Now we expect but shall never receive justice.

      2. Now they have due process in the form of trials and paperwork and all sorts of procedures, so everything is totes legit.

        1. The sherif should be handed over to the parents of the slain kids and teachers for mob justice.

  4. Google DeShaney v. Winnebago County for a second opinion on how responsible these people are.

    1. CPS is one of those Buttinski ideas that sounds just swell until you start really looking at it. I mean, of course a just and competent State would have people making sure that children are not abused! And then you start to think; ‘hmmm. A Just and competent State. Where have I seen that? I know! Nowhere and never!’

  5. If the local authorities did something wrong, then it’s appropriate to mention it. However, we mustn’t lose sight of who the real villain is in this tragedy: the NRA. That evil organization, and the politicians it controls because of its vast financial resources, are responsible for the US’s high murder rate.

    As Vox explains, Realistically, a gun control plan that has any hope of getting us down to European levels of violence means confiscating guns. Not too long ago, I would have thought “Sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately it won’t happen.” But this time is different. The tide is finally turning against the NRA, with young people leading the way.

    1. Young people are stupid. Water is wet. More at eleven.

      1. For anyone duped by OBL’s schtick, I’ll just point out that Germans possess millions of “illegal” guns. As do New Yorkers, Connecticutians, etc. The same is true everywhere that there is heavy gun control.

    2. Bullshit. The State took unto itself the responsibility of protecting those kinds….and then stood around with its thumb in its ass. The State is always lazy, stupid, incompetent, and subject to inertia. It is not the NRAs fault that we have for decades been herding children into ostentatiously labled slaughter pens (‘no gun zone’) and then spreading the fame of the most effective slaughterers while hiding any retribution visited on said vermin from public view.

      Want to put an end to school shootings? Do away with ‘no gun’ zones, and encourage the news media to run footage of the deaths of school shooters. Either writhing in agony on the blood stained pavement, or frying in the electric chair or dangling from a rope.

      Oh, and if you want to confiscate peoples guns, have the courage to propose a Constitutional Amendment to make such action legal. Because as a non-gun-owner I don’t actually care so much about the Second Amendment, but if you don’t play by the rules on it you won’t play by the rules on the First either.


    3. I use to think this guy was a parody, but then I saw that the ‘Libertarian’ Party tweeted out support for the students that left class yesterday in support of gun control and told them that if they want real change they need to vote ‘Libertarian’.

    4. I learned to chill and just take your posts for what they are. I now find them amusing, in a bemusing sort of way.

    5. Is the ACLU evil? Both they and the NRA say follow the US Constitution.

      What you need to do to reach ‘European levels of violence’ (WTF?) is repeal the second amendment. So get busy.
      And leave us alone until the repeal is ratified.

      Random thought after the ol’ proof read; open borders can be crossed in either direction – – – – – – –

    6. NRA have supported background checks. But when the crime history of people like this school shooter, and the SUtherland Springs shooter, are not reported to the background check system the BGC fails. Talk to the eedjits who failed/refused to report disqualifying date, multiple pieces in both cases, to NICS.

      NRA only are the voice of their 6Mn members. NRA had NAUGHT to do with this incident. Nor do they CONTROL any politicians. Search how may NRA “A” rated republican senators recently voted in insane “gun control measures” , in direct opposition to the “way they were supposed to vote”. So tell me once more, HOW do NRA “control” congressmen? Further, the murders per 100K in the US is near the bottom in the world. Remove the huge numbers of murders in Dem controlled SHole cities like Chicago, NYC, LA, Baltimore, etc, just the worst five in terms of murder rates, and we drop to fourth from the bottom,

      And you LIKE the present “european levels of violence” lately, do you? Fine. Move there. We here don’t like that high of a crime rate. And the :iyoung people’ are NOT “leading the way” in turning against NRA. Nope. Theyare shills and dupes for their handlers….. WH paid to bus them to Tallahassee in those nice white busses right after the shooting? WHO bought al those nice orange churts tjhey wore? WHO pulled the strigns and organised this natioinwide “event” in a month? Name ONEkid of their age you know who has what it takes to organise what happened yesterday. Y Can’t.

  6. Why is Congress involved besides the obvious grandstanding?

    1. Isn’t that sufficient reason?

      1. Has there ever been any other reason for Congress to get involved in anything?

    2. I’m sure it’s in here somewhere.

    3. Isn’t obvious grandstanding pretty much what Congress is for?

    4. Yeah, there’s no side to root for in this battle.

    5. By another name grandstanding is called ‘marketing’.

      By advertising what they have to sell, they hope to attract buyers so they can make themselves rich.

    1. Arpiao, for all his faults, was at least a semi-effective tyrant. This guy’s just a buffoon.

    2. No, that’s Grady Judd in nearby Polk County. Sheriff Israel is more like the inverse of Sheriff Clarke.

  7. Congress has no legitimate role to play in this, but the sheriff should certainly have to answer to the people in his county. I hope they call him to account but confess I’m not optimistic.

    1. I hope they give him a five minute head start and then take after him with tear, feathers, and a hangman’s noose. Stupid bastard.

      1. Why five minutes? Why any minutes? Let him just run his amazing ass from the get go.

    2. escept that some federal programme gives things like $54Mn to counties who “reduce” their “arrest rates” amongst kids of this age group. To GET that bit green carrot, Broward County officials FAILED to report this shooter’s criminal history to the FBI Background check system. The kid had FOUR disqualifying events, at least, and should not have been able to “legally” purchase firearms. Federal laws REQUIRE such events be reported… but Broward County officials failed/refused. So when this perp went to buy his guns, he was given “PROCEED” coded instead of the DENY he SHOULD have gotten. Thus, since US laws were broken, Congress DO have some reason to poke their noses in

  8. I hate everyone involved in this story.

    1. I hate everyone involved in most stories. It’s a sign of the times. But waddayagonnado?

      1. This one is more egregious than usual. Congress, cops, CPS… my god.

  9. Why should he? The kids are alright and doing a great job!

  10. Recall Israel’s own appraisal of his leadership: “amazing.”

    Well, it was “amazing,” just not in a good way.

    1. Astonishing, even.

  11. Look, this is like in baseball where there’s a pop fly and you wave off the other fielders by calling “I got it! I got it!” and then you drop the ball – nobody holds it against you, it’s not like they make some notation in the record book that you made a mistake. Everybody understands that sometimes things happen that are beyond your control no matter how hard you try, there was at least one other fielder there that could have caught the ball and heck, if the pitcher had been doing his job the batter never would have hit the ball in the first place. There’s plenty of blame to go around, no need to focus on you just because you dropped the ball you’re getting paid to catch.

    1. WTF. I can’t believe you think people have a right to own a baseball bat.

  12. Wait, what the fuck is this, “refuses to explain”? “Earned a stern rebuke”?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the United States Congress have unchecked powers of investigation? I mean, it’s not like I like the fact that it’s there, personally, but it most certainly is.

    1. ^This.

      The last time Chuck Schumer got it up his butt to “demand answers” from whoever it was had pissed in his Cheerios lately, I did some in-depth constitutional legal investigation on the subject, aka googling and wikipedia-ing. I’m pretty sure it’s written right into one of the articles of the constitution, that congress has subpoena power. On the surface, that was probably a pretty good idea for the way the framers thought Congress would work in the republic at the time. Now, it just lets asshats like Chuck Schumer grandstand, but it’s still there. “Contempt of Congress” is an actual crime as far as I know. Good thing it’s defined as refusing to answer a congressional subpoena, otherwise most of the commenters here would be guilty as hell.

  13. This guy is a major douche, but otoh people should tell Congress to fuck off as a matter of course.

  14. “”Israel really does seem like a consummate media opportunist: eager to commandeer the spotlight when it makes him look strong and decisive, uninterested in being held publicly accountable for the numerous errors his officers committed. Recall Israel’s own appraisal of his leadership: “amazing.”””

    I guess his mistake is being a sheriff, not a politician.

  15. Let’s back up a bit and ask the question… why should he answer to Congress?

    1. While I appreciate the general sentiment being expressed here I do think people are missing the mark.

      Maybe Congress does need to investigate, and does need to get some answers in order to make clear that the problem was not a lack of additional laws, but a failure of those charged with enforcing current laws.

      If those in postions of authority cannot be held accountable then what would adding more ink to the books accomplish?

      Establishing that truth is about the best we can hope for now.

  16. This guy didn’t let me down at all, as I never expected much out of him and his bunch in the first place.

    When are people going to figure out American copping, at all levels, is laughably over rated?

  17. “That said, even if we had done everything right, I’m not sure we could have stopped the attack.”

    Even I don’t claim that the attack would have been stopped had you gone in immediately. However, you absolutely positively WON’T stop an attack hiding outside behind your cruisers.

  18. Sheriff Scott “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep” Israel should not serve another day of his life working in “lawr” enforcement.

  19. I’m fine with smacking him down locally, with local or state powers; he deserves it, from all I’ve seen.

    I’m also fine will him telling Congress to stuff their self-promoting grandstanding, and that this sort of local policing issue is not Federal business.

    1. Israel needs to be called to account about his failures, if only to discredit his voice. A voice that said this is a Federal issue in need of more gun control.

      Like it or not anythign that is, or could be made a Federal issue becomes a concern of Congress.

  20. Sheriff Israel has an aura that silently screams, “I’m a totalitarian jackboot prick, so fuck all of you!”

    He needs more stars on his collar and an armband with the zz symbol.

    1. Well, just remember he is politically a raging liberal.

      Just the easily found parts –
      Scott Israel is the currently elected Sheriff of Broward County, Florida. He is a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate for gun control.
      Sheriff Israel has been criticized by his political opponents, accused of hiring his political supporters to work in “community outreach” jobs that consist mostly of going to meetings, touting the Sheriff’s Department’s success. Ten such workers were hired since 2013, for salaries totalling $634,479.
      An ethics complaint said Israel should have declared a higher value for a trip his family took with campaign supporter Robert Pereira on his yacht.
      Israel lost in his first run for sheriff’s office in 2008 against Republican Al Lamberti, who had been appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to replace Jenne. Lamberti blasted Israel with negative campaign ads and some political observers credited political strategist Roger Stone with helping out.
      However, Lamberti made some enemies in Broward’s Democratic dominated politics. Ron Gunzberger, the son of county commissioner Sue Gunzberger, led Israel’s second successful campaign in 2012.
      Israel told 28 members of Lamberti’s staff that they would be dismissed if they didn’t resign and Lamberti authorized the payment of $4.3 million to 53 departing employees.

      1. Figures that he’s a progtard traitor. Just another reason to dispose of this pile of ofal.

  21. I would almost be in favor of Congressional Attainder on this asswipe if for no other reason than the delicious schadenfreude it would entail. I know, not very AnCap of me…but fuck, I gotta get some entertainment from watching our liberties being pissed away by Proggie fuckos…

  22. If we want to stop most of these shootings, here is a list of things that will actually help….

    Quit medicating our kids because they act like kids
    Stop emasculating boys as a matter of general policy
    Let boys have more fist fights. It settles things without escalation
    Get kids to be more physically active in general

    Those things will solve a lot of problems, by simply creating an environment similar to the o,d days when these shootings didn’t happen.

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