BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – After the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause to believe Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony “misused his public position” when he allegedly lied to get his first job at the Coral Springs Police Department, a report obtained by Local 10 News casts doubt on his self-defense claim in a 1993 shooting.
It was May of 1993 when the then-14-year-old Tony shot and killed 18-year-old Hector Rodriguez in an inner city Philadelphia neighborhood. Tony was arrested and eventually found not guilty.
Investigators said Tony failed to disclose the arrest on his 2005 application in Coral Springs.
The sheriff spoke about the shooting to Local 10 News in 2020, calling it a “violent encounter” that he and his brother endured.
“There was no crime, no arrest and this was considered a self-defense case, as it should have been,” Tony said at the time.
But witness statements in the report contradict Tony’s claim that Rodriguez was armed at the time. Witness accounts read that Tony shot and killed an unarmed Hector Rodriguez six times, with two of the shots to the back of the head, before he took off running.
Local 10 News has also learned that certain witnesses failing to testify in court likely led to his acquittal and the case being expunged from his record.
Tony’s attorney released a statement following the commission’s decision, saying in part: “While disappointed in the commission’s action, my client looks forward to a swift finding of innocence.”
Tony was expected to be present at a news conference hosted by Brightline in Fort Lauderdale where officials discussed rail safety Monday, but he ultimately did not attend.
It’s not yet clear whether all of this will lead Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove Tony from office.
Tony can request a full hearing with the Florida Commission on Ethics or come to an agreement with it.
If a violation was determined to have happened, the sheriff could be removed from office by DeSantis and face a fine.