Charges Against Deputy Scot Peterson Focus On His Parkland Shooting Response
A former sheriff’s deputy was arrested on Tuesday in connection to his alleged inaction during the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. There are 11 criminal charges against former Deputy Scot Peterson in total. The charges range, but they all revolve around one central premise: that Peterson did not enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when shots rang out, even though he was an armed school resource officer at the time, and that his inaction directly impacted the extent of the tragedy.
The charges against Peterson include neglect of a child, culpable negligence, and perjury, according to The New York Times. Per KTLA, Peterson’s lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo III, has said in the past that the former officer’s actions were justified in the circumstances. Bustle has reached out to DiRuzzo for comment.
In a statement following Peterson’s arrest, Rick Swearingen, the commissioner for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said,
After the shooting, Peterson announced his retirement. However, new Sheriff Tony Gregory announced Peterson’s termination on Tuesday, according to CNN; this could affect Peterson’s pension.
In the past, Peterson has given interviews about his role and experience in the Parkland shooting. In an interview with Today in June 2018 (as seen above), he said,
He also acknowledged how he felt, emotionally, about that day, saying "This will haunt me for the rest of my life…those were my kids. So that’s why it hurts the way it does." In response to previous statements made by authorities that Peterson clearly knew a shooter was in the building at the time, Peterson replied, "Not true. It’s not true."
Peterson also said later on in the interview,
Already, parents of slain Parkland students have spoken out amid the news of Peterson’s arrest. Per CNN, Ryan Petty, the father of slain student Alaina Petty, said, "Peterson failed in his duty to protect lives that day, standing behind a cement pillar for 48 minutes while students and teachers were slaughtered." He continued, "After a year of in-depth investigation, I am pleased that the (state authorities) have brought formal charges against former deputy Scot Peterson."
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