The jury deciding the fate of a former Broward sheriff’s deputy accused of failing to protect students during the 2018 Parkland school shooting has reached a verdict.
Former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson was found not guilty on all charges.
Jurors spent about three days deliberating the case of the former deputy who remained outside a three-story classroom building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the gunman’s six-minute attack on Feb. 14, 2018.
Archives news: Trial Begins For Florida School Resource Accused Of Failing To Stop Parkland Shooter
AP reported that Peterson retired after the shooting and was fired from his role retroactively. He was released on bond after being arrested in June 2019.
Prosecutor Steven Klinger told jurors that former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson was equipped and could have confronted the shooter, Nicholas Cruz.
“You’ve got to get in there, and you’ve got to find the shooter,” prosecutor Steven Klinger said, according to AP.
Peterson’s attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, claimed he didn’t know where the gunfire was coming from or where the shooter was.
But defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh, in an emotional address, told the jurors that Peterson “was thrown under the bus” to preserve the career of then-Sheriff Scott Israel, who he said needed to find a scapegoat for his department’s failures leading up to the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting.
“A lot of heat was coming his (Israel’s) way,” Eiglarsh said, even after the sheriff said on national television that Peterson and his other deputies did their best with the information they had.
But when political pressure rose, Israel chose to sacrifice Peterson, Eiglarsh said.
He said Israel never even asked Peterson what happened before accusing him publicly about a week after the shooting of failing to act.
“He was not a coward. [Peterson] did everything he possibly could with the limited information he had on hand,” Eiglarsh said.
Peterson was charged with seven counts of felony child neglect for four students killed and three wounded on the third floor of a classroom building.
We can’t do this without your help; visit our GiveSendGo page and donate any dollar amount; every penny helps.