BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. (NSF) - Suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Monday filed paperwork to run again next year for the post he was stripped of by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In an executive order suspending Israel from office in January, the Republican governor accused the veteran law enforcement official of "incompetence" and "neglect of duty" related to the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which 14 students and three staff members were killed. DeSantis also accused Israel of mishandling the response to a mass shooting at Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport that resulted in five deaths.
Israel has appealed his suspension to the Florida Senate, which has the power to reinstate or remove elected officials. The filing of the campaign documents was no surprise; Israel, a Democrat who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected four years later, has repeatedly pledged to run again for his old job. Israel and his lawyers have called the suspension a "political ploy" by DeSantis designed to curry favor with voters.
During a Senate hearing in his appeal last month, Israel said his removal from office was "the wrong decision," adding that he is "committed to fulfilling my term." His suspension "is an injustice" to the Broward voters who elected him, Israel added. "If you're not happy with decisions an elected official made, there's a process in place to get rid of an elected official. It's called the first Tuesday in November. It's called an election," he said.
Four other Democrats --- Willie Jones, Al Pollock, Andrew Maurice Smalling and Santiago C. Vazquez Jr. --- have filed paperwork to run for the office, as has Republican H. Wayne Clark and David L. Rosenthal, who is a Constitution Party candidate.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.