US: 'Charging him with being a coward': Expert on unprecedented charges for Parkland cop - PressFrom - US
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US'Charging him with being a coward': Expert on unprecedented charges for Parkland cop

08:10  07 june  2019
08:10  07 june  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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The charges stem from his actions (and lack thereof) during the February 14, 2018, MSD High School shooting in Parkland that claimed the lives of 17 Andrew J. Sciascia is an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. A regular contributor with The Western Journal since

The criminal charges filed this week against Mr. Peterson in the Parkland case have injected a whole new potential calculation for officers to work through. But some experts say things are not always so clear, and that officers have a duty toward even those they are policing.

'Charging him with being a coward': Expert on unprecedented charges for Parkland cop© Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Reuters Former Broward County sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson appears via video feed from the Broward County jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., June 5, 2019.

Scot Peterson, the Parkland, Florida school resource officer who failed to confront a shooter who killed 17 last February, has been branded a “coward” by everyone from victims' family members to President Donald Trump. But will his inaction that day also make him a felon?

This week, Florida prosecutors answered that question in the affirmative, and charged the former Broward County sheriff's deputy with neglect of a child, culpable negligence and perjury.

Florida deputy charged after staying outside school shooting

Florida deputy charged after staying outside school shooting MIAMI — Florida deputy who failed to confront a gunman during last year's Parkland massacre has been arrested on 11 charges. State Attorney Mike Satz announced Tuesday that 56-year-old Scot Peterson faces child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury charges. Peterson, then a Broward County deputy, was on duty during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but never went inside. Satz says the charges carry a combined prison sentence of nearly 100 years. Peterson's bail was set at $102,000. A Peterson lawyer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

But experts say that criminally charging a law enforcement officer for allegedly being negligent in his response to a mass shooting is new ground. Scot Peterson, a former Broward County sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland , Fla., faces

Some experts are surprised Peterson was charged . The criminal charges were “ an unusual instance of law enforcement officers being held “This is the first time I have seen somebody so charged like this,” said Clinton R. Van Zandt, a former profiler with the F.B.I. and an expert on mass shootings.

Legal experts say the move is unprecedented, and that the case will be closely watched amid calls to arm teachers and other school personnel as a way to prevent future school shootings.

“I can’t think of a case where someone has been charged with not going into harm’s way.” said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "Basically, they’re charging him with being a coward."

In similar cases, like those involving day care personnel, a person might be made to pay money to the affected families, but it is “incredibly rare” for prosecutors to seek jail time, Levenson said.

Darren Hutchinson, a professor of the University of Florida's Levin College of Law, said that the only precedent for officers being charged for inaction is in cases where they fail to perform their "clearly defined legal duty," such as attending to a person's urgent medical needs.

Ex-school cop Scot Peterson fired, arrested for actions during Parkland massacre

Ex-school cop Scot Peterson fired, arrested for actions during Parkland massacre Parkland Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Tuesday that the embattled school resource officer who was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the school massacre has been arrested and fired for neglect of duty. Scot Peterson, 56, had been nationally heckled and vilified for failing to confront the former student who gunned down and killed 17 students and staff at the Parkland school on Feb. 14, 2018. “It’s never too late for accountability and justice,” Sheriff Tony said. Peterson has been booked into the Broward Main Jail on 11 criminal charges, including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. He also was fired.

Florida school security officer Scot Peterson has been charged with neglect of duty after an investigation into his failure to act for nearly an hour allowed an ex-student to gun down 17 people at a Parkland high school last year. Instead of charging toward the gunshots as he was trained to do

Some legal experts are questioning the arrest of a Florida sheriff's deputy for not confronting the (AP) — The arrest of a Florida sheriff's deputy for not confronting the gunman in the Parkland school President Donald Trump and others have branded Peterson a coward . But can Broward County

"What they’re doing in Florida is try to apply general laws regarding child neglect -- laws that keep people from doing reckless things that cause injury -- they’re applying those to police practice," Hutchinson said.

Surveillance video and police radio transmissions showed that as the alleged teenage gunman, Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, rampaged through Building 12, which was full of freshmen, Peterson remained outside for 27 minutes. Instead of entering the school to confront the gunman, he retreated to a safe area, and then advised first responders over the radio to maintain their distance. Prosecutors say that he made a false statement, claiming that he did not hear gunfire.

An internal probe by the Broward County Sheriff's Office found that Peterson, who was assigned to the high school as a school resource officer, “did absolutely nothing to mitigate” the shooting, according to a statement released by the agency.

Florida School Shooting: Peterson Faces Multiple Charges

Florida School Shooting: Peterson Faces Multiple Charges The former Broward County Sheriff's deputy who is accused of waiting outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is facing 11 charges.

' Coward ' Cop Defends His Actions During Parkland School Shooting. “However, the allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue.”

Scot Peterson was charged with negligence and child neglect for not entering the building during President Donald Trump and others have branded Peterson a coward . But can Broward County The negligence charge brought by prosecutors accuses Peterson of “reckless indifference” or “careless

Peterson's lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo, said at the time that his client's actions were "appropriate" and said he would ultimately be exonerated based on the video evidence. DiRuzzo said Peterson took up a "tactical position" in response to what he believed was outdoor gunfire, notified the sheriff's dispatch and initiated a "Code Red" lockdown.

In the wake of the shooting, the Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission suggested that a policy implemented by former Sheriff Steve Israel, who helmed the department at the time, may have been a factor in the incident. Instead of mandating that officers confront active shooters, it said they "may" do so.

Israel told the commission he wanted to avoid sending officers on "suicide missions," according to the Associated Press.

"By absolutely no stretch of the imagination do we condone the actions, or inaction, of Deputy Scot Peterson on February 14, 2018," Rod Skirvin, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, which includes Parkland, told ABC News in an interview Thursday. "That being said, we feel the ramifications of charging a law enforcement officer with a criminal act as a caregiver is highly concerning to us."

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Former cop Scot Peterson to remain jailed after his arrest in school shooting When every second counted, as students were screaming and dying in their classrooms, school security officer Scot Peterson hid rather than respond. 

Legal experts are not so sure and suggested prosecutors may have overreached. “This is a unique prosecution, pushing the bounds of criminal liability The negligence charge brought by prosecutors accuses Peterson of “reckless indifference” or “careless disregard” for others. Child neglect involves a

Plenty of people cheered when Florida officials charged Scot Peterson, the “Broward coward ,” with felony neglect over his inaction in the Parkland school shooting. They may not be cheering for long, NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos suggested on Today.

Skirvin said the idea that an officer like Peterson could be criminally charged would lead to "massive confusion on the interpretation of the law." He noted that in the wake of the Parkland shooting, Florida police are now trained to prepare to "kill or be killed" as they enter an active-shooter situation at a school.

This week, immediately after the criminal complaint was filed against him, Peterson, 56, was terminated from his position, which he had held for 30 years.

Peterson's lawyer, DiRuzzo, said in a statement that his client was being made a scapegoat.

"The State’s actions appear to be nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at politically motivated retribution against Mr. Peterson, as no other individual employed at the Broward Sheriff’s Office or Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been criminally charged," DiRuzzo said.

Peterson appeared in court Thursday and a judge reduced his bond. He was released and has not yet entered a plea.

The news this week that Peterson had been charged was mostly applauded by the Parkland community, which largely repeated the view of him that they have offered over the past year.

"He was a coward that day," Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son, Joaquin, was killed in the massacre, told ABC News. "He was there to save students, teachers. He did nothing. Now he needs to pay for his mistake and I'm glad this is happening now."

Levenson said that the case would be closely watched, as the state legislatures and the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have considered policies that would encourage more school personnel, including teachers, to be armed.

“It may have mixed consequences,” she said of the criminal charges. “It might be harder to recruit people.”

But more than that, it is not yet clear that a jury will go along with it.

“I think people are angry that their children weren’t protected,” Levenson said. “In a courtroom, where that anger is going to be tempered, what will it look like then?”

11-year-old boy shot dead inside his home, sheriff searching for 'coward' gunman.
Several other kids were asleep in the same room as the victim, the sheriff said.

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