TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis used part of his State of the State address Tuesday to tout his decision to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who was harshly criticized for how his office handled the deadly mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
DeSantis replaced Israel with Gregory Tony, but Israel has appealed his suspension to the Florida Senate, which has the power to reinstate or remove elected officials.
During his remarks Tuesday, DeSantis noted that Israel’s suspension will come before the Senate soon.
“Why any senator would want to thumb his nose at the Parkland families and to eject Sheriff Tony, who is doing a great job and has made history as the first African-American sheriff in Broward history, is beyond me,” the governor said.
But Senate President Bill Galvano, who appointed former Rep. Dudley Goodlette as a special master to oversee Israel’s appeal and to make recommendations, wasn’t comfortable with the governor’s comment about the Israel case.
“Look, he has every right to suspend him and has his reasons for doing so. But the Senate also has a role, and we’re going to do it right. We’re going to have due process and we’re going to vet through the suspension and we’ll make a decision. I’ve asked our senators to give it the respect that it’s due and not to prejudge. That’s the role of the Senate. I’ve said this before. We’re not just going to be a rubber stamp for the governor,” he said.