The Jury Talks Back


The Story of the Deputy Who Stood Outside the School Shooting Keeps Getting Worse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:00 am

streiff told you last night about the Broward County sheriff’s deputy who stood outside and did nothing as children were being slaughtered inside. Here’s how the Washington Post reports it:

The armed school resource officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took a defensive position outside the school and did not enter the building while the shooter was killing students and teachers inside with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday.

But buried deeeep in the Washington Post article — 24 paragraphs in, in fact (I counted) — is this little nugget:

Peterson is mentioned as part of a 2016 social services agency investigation into Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman. According to a Florida Department of Children and Families report detailing that investigation, Peterson was approached by investigators and “refused to share any information … regarding [an] incident that took place with” the teenager.


I’m trying to think of a legitimate reason that a sheriff’s deputy would refuse to share information about a potentially threatening teenager with social services. The only thing that comes to mind is some kind of misguided concern about the privacy of reports relating to juveniles. I’m not an expert on the confidentiality of juvenile records in Florida, but it beggars belief that there was no legitimate route for this deputy to share information in such an investigation. The whole thing reminds me of the FBI, which took tips about the kid and refused to lift a finger to even find out who the kid was. The attitude is: not my problem.

It’s still not 100% clear what authorities could have done about this kid if they had done their jobs — but it is clear they didn’t do their jobs. The FBI might not have been able to stop anything — but they didn’t even bother to learn the kid’s identity. The Sheriff’s Department refused to share information with investigators, took dozens of reports, and did nothing. And then this deputy failed to act at the critical moment when he could have saved children’s lives.

Part of me says we should not stand in judgment of this deputy. But then I think back to that story of the coach, Aaron Feis, who threw himself in front of students at the cost of his own life. Imagine if, instead, Feis had held kids in front of himself, using them as human shields.

That is, in essence, what Deputy Scot Peterson did. He allowed kids to die so that he might live.

But sure, blame the NRA.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


  1. One of the reasons civilians like me are willing to be more understanding regarding deaths caused by police is that they are required to run to and immediately confront danger. If the police don’t do that — if they decide to be defensive and protect themselves first instead of protecting us and our children — then I won’t continue to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Comment by DRJ — 2/23/2018 @ 9:05 am

  2. I don’t think the police will like it if the standard for reviewing their conduct changes, any more than I like it if “taking a defensive posture” becomes the standard for protecting us.

    Comment by DRJ — 2/23/2018 @ 9:08 am

  3. The left can’t have it both ways, they can’t claim that few guns only in the hands of those trained to use them (i.e. police) is the way forward while claiming we can’t berate this officer for failure of his sworn duty. This is why the myth that law enforcement are charged with our protection is so dangerous.

    Comment by Sean — 2/23/2018 @ 9:56 am

  4. IMHO, we’re making too much of deputy-do-nothing.
    Are his inactions disgraceful? Yes. Also, it’s worth remembering that he didn’t have to try to take out the killer, it could have sufficed to distract him (such as by popping off a few shots from a distance). But, doing nothing? Unconscionable.

    But, I still think we’re making too much of him. The reason is that as reprehensible as he is, there is worse; the apparent fact that the Coral Springs PD went in first, in spite of the Broward Sheriff’s department having a station far closer. Why? And, let’s not forget the eagerness of the sheriff to blame the NRA and otherwise distract from his own culpability (such as ignoring warnings).

    IMHO, at some point soon, the entire tapes of the sheriff’s department dispatch (and what the officers radioed in) need to be released. We need to know what was said, and what the orders were.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 2/23/2018 @ 3:07 pm

  5. Well, it looks like that lone deputy-do-nothing wasn’t just standing there alone; it appears several other sheriffs deputies arrived and took up defensive positions behind their cars, and there they waited until the Coral Springs PD showed up (from much further away, and out of their jurisdiction), and also an officer from Sunland (twice as far away as Coral springs).

    And then, reportedly, the Coral Springs officers and the Sunland officer went in. The deputies remained outside, still defending their cars.

    And, um, those cars? They’ll have rifles and shotguns in them, which dispels the already flimsy excuse of not going in with a sidearm against a rifle.

    I think that if this is all true, the Broward County (or is it Coward County now?) sheriffs department needs to be reminded of the Key West Police Department, which was declared by the Department of Justice to be a criminal enterprise under the RICO statutes in June of 1986.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 2/23/2018 @ 7:51 pm

  6. Arizona CJ 5,

    Great comment!

    Comment by DRJ — 2/24/2018 @ 7:33 am

  7. Thanks DRJ, and you too.
    I am a very strong supporter of the police, and always have been. However, I also see them as human beings, and thus it has to be expected that there will be a few bad ones.

    I too generally give the police the benefit of the doubt, including far more leeway than a civilian would have. I’m willing to accept the reality that there are a few bad ones, but what I’m not willing to accept is entire departments gone bad. That is plenty to make me reconsider any leeway. And that is exactly what I see going on in the Broward County sherrif’s department. It’s one thing to have a few officers screw up, be cowardly, whatever. It’s very much another when the department at large pulls the “blue wall” approach and tries to shield the miscreants. And so far, the department is at least culpable in this, and also just happens to be the ones in charge of investigating the response – they are investigating themselves.

    The Broward County sherrif’s department has a miserable record going back many years. At this juncture, I think the department should be dissolved; it’s too rotten through and through to reform.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 2/24/2018 @ 12:54 pm

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