Broward County's Police Incompetence Could've Been Tackled Had Gov. Scott Probed History of Corruption and Brutality

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Hypocrisy of Gov. Scott--he's now ready to clean up the mess 17 dead bodies later. Photo: Gage Skidmore-Flickr 

[Speaking Truth To Power] 

In the wake of Florida's Valentine's Day massacre, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which took 17 lives, we now see Republican politicians blaming anything for mass shootings, except America's insane gun laws—including one American institution they usually never blamed for anything: the police.  

Isn't it ironic that those who never find fault with anything police do, especially, when they are busy brutalizing and murdering Black people, are now willing to blame police for failing to stop Nikolas Cruz's deadly rampage? 

Why? Isn't this a convenient diversion so they can protect the blood money profits of gun manufacturers and the NRA? They will throw the police under the bus for the NRA; now that's perverted power.  

Recently, Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Broward Sheriff's Office's handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting.

Like the FBI, the Broward Sheriff’s Office is also being scrutinized for their actions in the aftermath of this mass murder—and their alleged failures in stopping the killer Nikolas Cruz. 

Reportedly, several officers were on the scene, when the shooting was ongoing, but failed to enter the school. This prompted even the lunatic president in the White House that he personally would have run into the building even unarmed.

Besides Deputy Scot Peterson, who has since resigned from the Broward Sheriff's Office, other officers were said to have been present when the shooting was in progress. "There must be an independent investigation and that is why I asked the FDLE Commissioner to immediately start this process," Scott said in a written statement. "I have spoken to the Speaker regularly since the shooting, and like me, he wants the families to have answers and for there to be full accountability. That's what the victims and their families deserve."

He was referring to Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

African  Americans and fair-minded people are wondering why Governor Scott never asked for an investigation into those cases of police brutality and murder where the victims were Black Americans? Why no investigation into the police mishandling of George Zimmerman's murder of Trayvon Martin? 

Black America is also asking this: why does the mass murder of Blacks --spread over time-- by police, never get seriously investigated by politicians, whether they be Republicans or Democrats? At least 40 Black people have been confirmed as being killed by police so far this year, according to killedbypolice.net.  

Where is the outcry?  One of the targets of this Florida investigation is apparently Broward Sheriff Scott Israel who infuriated many people when he told CNN's Jake Tapper that he provided at the police department "amazing leadership" during the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman School.

Sheriff Israel, a known Democrat, clearly ruffled feathers not only with his "amazing leadership" comment—but, by his clear opposition to the zero-gun control platform Governor Scott and Senator Marco Rubio seem to support.   Imagine, while there has been much talk about mental illness and guns --including by Trump, the least qualified person to mention the words "mental health"-- Governor Scott is against a law allowing experts to ask people with mental health problems if they have access to a gun. 

Is partisan politics also now driving some in their attempts to remove Sheriff Israel from office? Recently, State Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, sent a letter to Governor Scott asking him to replace Sheriff Israel for "neglect of duty and incompetence." At least 73 House Republicans have asked the governor to suspend Sheriff Israel.  

Some may scream foul about what Governor Scott and Florida Republicans are trying to do to Sheriff Israel. Right-wing Republican politics are surely at play here.  Before we feel too sorry for Sheriff Israel, there is some egregious history we should consider.  

On July 15, 2015, my column titled "The Case of The Lying Florida Cops Who Killed a Black Man" dealt with an incident in Broward.  The piece highlighted the apparently unjustified shooting death of 33-year-old computer programmer Jermaine McBean, who was shot dead by alleged killer-cop Deputy Peter Peraza an officer in the Broward Sheriff's Office, run by Sheriff Israel.  

On July 13, 2013, McBean was shot dead four days before his 34th birthday by Deputy Peraza as he walked in his apartment complex with (reportedly) an unloaded Winchester Model 1000 Air Rifle on his shoulder. In response to McBean' s shooting the Broward Sheriff's Office gave the standard excuse for this killing: McBean, they said, ignored several warnings from deputies to drop the air gun.  

These claims were refuted by witnesses.  One witness, a nurse, who requested anonymity, took a picture showing McBean wearing ear buds right after he was shot. This strongly indicates he was probably listening to something when he was killed. Police claimed McBean wasn't wearing any headphones but said they found ear buds in McBean's pocket.  The nurse also complained she wasn't allowed to render medical services to McBean right after he was shot. 

Another witness, 58-year-old Michael Russell McCarthy who apparently had called 911 when he saw McBean with the air rifle stated McBean never pointed the air rifle at police and said it would have been impossible for him to fire it given the position he was carrying the gun on his shoulders and behind his neck.  "He couldn't have fired that gun from the position he was in. There was no possible way of firing it and at the same time hitting something," McCarthy said. "I kind of blame myself, because if I hadn't called it might not have happened."  

Indeed, there was an investigation into this case by the Justice Department. That investigation went nowhere.  In the Jeff Sessions' Justice Department regime we should have zero confidence anything resembling justice will be done. Moreover, on the local level, last August 30, the Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled Deputy Peraza cannot be prosecuted under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.   

Deputy Peraza was even given a Golden Cross police award for "bravery" for his killing of McBean. Sheriff Israel stood proudly beside this apparent killer-cop as he was given the award (or reward) for killing this Black man. 

It should also be noted, according to investigative journalist Sara Carter, and David Schoen the lawyer representing Jermaine McBean's family that court records indicate "Approximately 66 BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) deputies and other employees, including supervisory personnel were arrested for, charged with, and/or convicted of crimes that run the gamut from Armed Kidnapping, to Battery, Assault, Falsifying records, Official Misconduct, Narcotics trafficking, and other crimes involving dishonesty and violence in the years immediately preceding 2013 when Jermaine was killed. Most of the offenses on the list occurred in the years 2012-2013." 

Many people like to talk glowingly of the supposed Second Amendment "right" given them by the Founding Fathers. So if gun ownership is such an American right, why didn't Second Amendment advocates question the unjustified police killing of Black men and boys like: Jermaine McBean, in Florida; Philando Castile, in Minnesota; or, John Crawford and Tamir Rice, both in Ohio?  

These victims were killed because they were in possession of a gun and in 12-year-old Tamir Rice's case a toy gun. If the Second Amendment is such a revered sanctified law, why is gun possession, in of itself, deemed dangerous when it is in the hands of Black folk?

Is it because the Second Amendment was always intended as a tool to oppress African-Americans? And so, therefore, the sight of a Black person with a gun, even a toy, is a troublesome sign? 

The hypocrisy is nauseating.  

Governor Scott never seems to have had any problem with how the McBean case was handled. Perhaps if he had investigated Sheriff Israel's police department he could've purged it earlier. Governor Scott is yet another politician that couldn't care less about Black people who are unjustly killed by police. 

Now, the good governor, reacting merely due to the public outcry, says he wants to find "answers" for the families of the Marjory Stoneman victims.

Isn't Governor Scott complicit in the corruption and failures of the Broward Sheriff's Office? Shouldn't the governor have been investigating them long before the Parkland tragedy?

 Is Governor Scott not now engaging in a deflection of blame to protect the NRA -and-gun-manufacturing blood industry by belatedly, "investigating" the Broward Sheriff's office whose corruption is renowned?

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