The Phoenix Flyer

Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel fights back with lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis, Senate President

By: - November 25, 2019 3:15 pm

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, flanked by then Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking to the media about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Israel was later suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Scott Israel, the former Broward County sheriff, has filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Senate President Bill Galvano over his removal from office.

The 32-page lawsuit, filed late Friday, denounces his ousting as a partisan decision to remove a Democratic elected sheriff.

“The governor and the Florida Senate engaged in a highly partisan removal of a democratically elected Sheriff,” Israel states in the complaint.

The ex-sheriff also says it infringed upon his constitutional rights and contravened due process of law. The Florida Senate voted Oct. 23 to remove Israel.

“Sheriff Israel seeks an order directing his return to his elected position as Broward County Sheriff or, alternatively, an order directing the Florida Senate and the Governor to satisfy the constitutional requirements of due process… the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit is pending in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida, based in Tallahassee.

During his gubernatorial campaign, DeSantis vowed to remove Israel.

And the Republican governor suspended Israel from his position a few days after the governor took office in January 2019, citing “neglect of duty” and “incompetence.”

The suspension referenced Israel’s handling of the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 students and staffers were killed. In another a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport in 2017, five people were killed and six wounded.

But Israel’s lawyers continue to assert that the governor’s decision was politically motivated, without proving any facts related to neglect of duty.

And a Senate-appointed Special Master found that the governor did not have sufficient grounds to remove the duly-elected constitutional officer from his post.

Israel has announced he is running for office in the upcoming 2020 election.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.