Patterico's Pontifications

6/4/2019

Deputy in Parkland School Shooting Arrested, Charged

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 7:00 pm



[Headline from DRJ]

Orlando SentinelEx-school deputy Scot Peterson arrested on charges of neglect of duty in Parkland massacre:

When every second counted, school resource officer Scot Peterson, who was the closest person to the gunman during the Parkland school shooting and likely the only one who could have intervened, took cover instead of action and for that he has been arrested on 11 criminal charges.

Peterson on Tuesday was arrested for neglect of duty for the 48 minutes he spent hiding as children and staff died, Sheriff Gregory Tony announced.

More at the link.

— DRJ

37 Responses to “Deputy in Parkland School Shooting Arrested, Charged”

  1. Seems like a rather novel legal theory.

    Dave (f35b22)

  2. Not before time. Idiot.

    C. S. P. Schofield (86d486)

  3. It appears the Florida Constitution provides for sanctions/removal of public officials for “neglect of duty and incompetence.” The Governor previously removed the Sheriff on that basis.

    DRJ (15874d)

  4. Seems like a rather novel legal theory.

    One of the charges is for perjury, which given Peterson’s tortured account of how he allegedly was awaiting orders before entering the building and then securing the perimeter — and whatever other nonsense he spewed to cover the fact that he chickened out at the moment he was most needed — I think is an appropriate charge. But the idea of charging him for his cowardice will probably be a hard sell.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  5. There was a lot of other hiding during those 48 minutes. Why him and not the sheriff?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  6. But the idea of charging him for his cowardice will probably be a hard sell.

    The process is the punishment.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  7. I don’t know how he looks at himself in the mirror every morning. How do you not do something if your students are dying and you might be able to do something about it? (yes, as a school admin, this is a thing I have realistically considered.) As the school safety officer, these were not even just random kids that he should have felt a duty toward regardless, these were kids he knew.

    Nic (896fdf)

  8. I wonder if the Sentinel will get a Cronkite Award for this coverage.

    jim2 (a5dc71)

  9. Charging him for perjury? You bet.

    Charging him for being a bleeping coward? No. As much as I want the “books thrown at him”… we should not advocate to criminalize cowardice.

    Also, wasn’t there a recent-ish SCOTUS ruling that basically affirms that Police don’t have a requirement to protect the public, and thus cannot be sued?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  10. I don’t know if this is a crime amenable to human justice.

    In Conrad’s Lord Jim, the young officer, Jim, does not have time to think in his few seconds of cowardice. This guy had 48 minutes. And a gun. And a bulletproof vest.

    nk (dbc370)

  11. Also, wasn’t there a recent-ish SCOTUS ruling that basically affirms that Police don’t have a requirement to protect the public, and thus cannot be sued?

    That’s got nothing to do with this case. But, yeah, it’s something police unions would love to have applied across the board. In his favor, he himself did not shoot any of the kids because he saw them “reaching towards their waists and feared for his life”.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. I don’t know if this is a crime amenable to human justice.

    alihiw88win88 (3d326d)

  13. There’s a new way to spam. Or phish.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. Re. SCOTUS. That is regarding the federal S1983. States could easily have a different regime (though I am not aware that any do and certainly not to the extent of criminal prosecution).

    Soronel Haetir (e15932)

  15. #11 @nk Also, wasn’t there a recent-ish SCOTUS ruling that basically affirms that Police don’t have a requirement to protect the public, and thus cannot be sued?

    That’s got nothing to do with this case. But, yeah, it’s something police unions would love to have applied across the board. In his favor, he himself did not shoot any of the kids because he saw them “reaching towards their waists and feared for his life”.

    nk (dbc370) — 6/5/2019 @ 8:30 am

    I think it has everything to do with the case.

    I was thinking of this:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_of_Castle_Rock_v._Gonzales
    Where the Court ruled, 7–2, that a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failing to enforce a restraining order, which had led to the murder of a woman’s three children by her estranged husband.

    Also this still seems to be the prevailing precedent:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia
    Where the District of Columbia Court of Appeals case that held that the police do not owe a specific duty to provide police services to citizens based on the public duty doctrine.

    Essentially, due to qualified immunity and others, it appears that the police doesn’t have a duty to anything legally. As such, this coward would likely only be able convicted on the perjury charge.

    Am I wrong here??

    whembly (fd57f6)

  16. It was policy remember from the principals office to the bureau to the depart of education.

    Narciso (f61c15)

  17. I know a little bit about Castle Rock v Gonzales, because, sadly, I knew Simon Gonzales, the man who killed his daughters. The point in that case was that the Court ruled that the girls mother could not reasonably expect 24/7 protection by the Castle Rock Police, even though she had a restraining order against the girls’ father. It didn’t say the police don’t have a duty to respond, it just said there are reasonable limits to how much we can expect of them, given limits in staffing and budget. There was also some issue with the fact that the mother had also previously let Simon take his daughters on outings. That is why the Castle Rock PD only dispatched one vehicle to track down the father, rather than making it a department-wide priority.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  18. Am I wrong here??

    Yes. Those were private tort actions for damages, both under implied causes of action claimed to arise, respectively, from the U.S. Constitution (the Section 1983 case) and common law (the DC case). Nothing there to preclude a government from making nonfeasance by a police officer a crime.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. PS Nothing there to prevent Congress and state legislatures from enacting statutes which make failure to protect a tort, either.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Charging him for being a bleeping coward? No. As much as I want the “books thrown at him”… we should not advocate to criminalize cowardice.

    We do in the military world. Why is this different?

    A police officer is trained, and paid, to take risks to protect the public. They get extra-generous pensions that acknowledge mental and physical stress that is unsustainable with age.

    Cowardice in the face of great danger to children they are specifically tasked to protect? Yeah, I’d criminalize it. This wasn’t a judgement call, this was gross dereliction of duty. Eff him.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  21. Essentially, due to qualified immunity and others, it appears that the police doesn’t have a duty to anything legally. As such, this coward would likely only be able convicted on the perjury charge.

    All that case showed was that police departments have priorities and cannot be expected to be everywhere, all the time. I don’t believe that any case said something like:

    “Yes, even though the child was being kidnapped right before his eyes, he wasn’t done with his donut, and he had no duty to put it down an intervene.”

    This was not a case of priorities and incapacity of the department to be everywhere. This was a case of an officer who was assigned to deal with the exact problem that occured, who was present, armed, trained and aware of the threat posed to the children in his charge. And refused to do his ONE JOB.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  22. PS Nothing there to prevent Congress and state legislatures from enacting statutes which make failure to protect a tort, either.

    Except that it would be idiotic, as it requires an omniscient and omnipotent police department to prevent all sparrows from falling. Not to mention a police state.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  23. Actually, there is a middle ground. For one example, in Illinois, persons in loco parentis (that includes school people) can be sued in a tort action for injuries to children in their care. However, the standard is not simple negligence, it is willful and wanton conduct.

    nk (dbc370)

  24. “Except that it would be idiotic, as it requires an omniscient and omnipotent police department to prevent all sparrows from falling. Not to mention a police state.”

    – Kevin

    It would depend on the statutory parameters. Failure to Protect from a known/clear/present/lethal danger is different than Failure to Protect from anything bad whatsoever.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  25. This is also necessary from the traditional “pour encourager les autres” standpoint.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  26. We do in the military world. Why is this different?

    Because members of the military aren’t unionized?

    JVW (54fd0b)

  27. Leviticus, yes, but, in context, those prior cases were the general case, not the specific.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  28. Because members of the military aren’t unionized?

    Are you arguing it should be different, or against unions?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  29. Are you arguing it should be different, or against unions?

    Come on, Kevin M, what do you think? Have I ever given you the impression that I’m a fan of public employee unionization?

    JVW (54fd0b)

  30. This was not a case of priorities and incapacity of the department to be everywhere. This was a case of an officer who was assigned to deal with the exact problem that occurred, who was present, armed, trained and aware of the threat posed to the children in his charge. And refused to do his ONE JOB.

    There is also the question of failures further up the chain of command. Did those who assign him to “School resource” duty have any reason to believe he might not, to be put it kindly, have the stuff of heroes in him? And should there have been more than one officer on duty at a school of that size (3000+ students)?

    kishnevi (496414)

  31. Well the coral springs swat team was made of stronger stuff,

    Narciso (f61c15)

  32. Kevin M #20 & 21

    Cowardice in the face of great danger to children they are specifically tasked to protect? Yeah, I’d criminalize it. This wasn’t a judgement call, this was gross dereliction of duty. Eff him…

    This was not a case of priorities and incapacity of the department to be everywhere. This was a case of an officer who was assigned to deal with the exact problem that occured, who was present, armed, trained and aware of the threat posed to the children in his charge. And refused to do his ONE JOB.

    kishnevi @30

    Did those who assign him to “School resource” duty have any reason to believe he might not, to be put it kindly, have the stuff of heroes in him?

    Nobody, not Scot Peterson, not his superiors, thought there was a real possibility he would be called upon to act. The possibility was discounted in their minds all the way down to zero.

    It was an extremely easy job for him – if nothing happened. You can wonder how many other people have similar jobs. The only difference here was that, against all odds, SOMETHING happened. How many other weak reeds might exist? It’s most likely where the odds are extremely small, and the rest of the job, very easy.

    Perhaps it should have been stressed that he might be called upon to be a hero (albeit with good – probably over 98% – chances of survival without permanent injury or worse against a lone gunman, and almost as good against two) and if he didn’t feel he was up to it, he shouldn’t take that job, or request a transfer.

    It is probably unfair to charge him with cowardice, since he wasn’t warned. In the miliary they know they’re in danger.

    It can also be said that if he didn’t feel he could handle it, that could mean that he really wouldn’t have been able to do so successfully, so it not so much that he should have acted, it’s that he shouldn’t have had that job.

    Sammy Finkelman (9974e8)

  33. What makes this particularly galling to me is that the school campus was a gun-free zone and Deputy Peterson was carrying a lethal weapon therein. If not on a statutory basis, I think that under such conditions, a duty to protect is so strongly implied as to be self-evident.

    32. There’s a word for that. It’s called “normalcy bias” and tends to be present in most or all instances of catastrophe, which is why no matter how many times a hurricane hits the Gulf coast, Louisiana politicians will always go bleating to FEMA for federal relief money to do the things they should have planned for decades ago. It’s also why every school shooting results in no action from the politicians except ineffectual pandering.

    Gryph (08c844)

  34. The possibility was discounted in their minds all the way down to zero.

    The worst thing you can do is pretend to protect someone. It’s worse than doing nothing because it dissuades people from providing their own defense.

    When seconds count, the cops are minutes away hiding behind cars.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  35. It is probably unfair to charge him with cowardice, since he wasn’t warned. In the military they know they’re in danger.

    If so, let him bring it as a defense, and let his managers testify as well. Maybe he was doing just what they told him to do. But get the facts out in a courtroom so we can hang the right people.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  36. Come on, Kevin M, what do you think? Have I ever given you the impression that I’m a fan of public employee unionization?

    OK, then. I take it as a slam on police unions and what limitations they might put on the duties of them members. But I think, a bit unfair, even to police unions.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  37. It is probably unfair to charge him with cowardice, since he wasn’t warned. In the military they know they’re in danger.

    Kevin M (21ca15) — 6/6/2019 @ 11:29 am

    If so, let him bring it as a defense, and let his managers testify as well. Maybe he was doing just what they told him to do. But get the facts out in a courtroom so we can hang the right people.

    I said it’s unfair, I didn’t say it was a legal defense. His legal defense would be that he never got specific enough .instructions

    Everybody treated this scenario as something that never would actually ahppen and they never gamed it through.

    To the extent they did, they made a big mistake:

    They had all the students go through drills.

    Now who else was taking part in the drills? Future school shooters!

    Everybody there knew drills were going on in other schools. So where a school shooter going to go?

    Back to his old school where he knew the drill.

    The shooter knew exactly what precautions they would take, and for instance, he never attempted to go into a classroom because he knew the doors would be locked. But he knew how to get them out of the classrooms.

    He pulled the fire alarm.

    And he knew where he could find students outside of classrooms even without a fire alarm.

    Sammy Finkelman (9974e8)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2799 secs.