TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Senate President Bill Galvano are asking a federal judge to reject a lawsuit filed by disgraced former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who contends his constitutional rights were violated when he was removed from office last year.
Attorneys for Israel on Monday filed a response in opposition to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
They claim DeSantis and the Florida Senate deprived Israel of due process, compromising the will of Broward County voters and ignoring a special master’s recommendation that he be reinstated.
DeSantis suspended Israel in January 2019, citing “neglect of duty and incompetence” during two mass shootings in Broward County -- at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January 2017 and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day 2018.
Special Master Dudley Goodlette, a Republican and former state lawmaker, wrote in his 34-page report that DeSantis failed to present any evidence to support the Republican governor’s position.
The Senate “on a near-party line” vote upheld Israel’s removal.
“Until Sheriff Israel’s suspension and removal, never has the governor of the state of Florida suspended an elected constitutional officer from office without founded evidentiary support based on proven facts,” attorneys Ben Kuehne and Stuart Kaplan wrote. “Yet, the governor did just that in suspending Sheriff Israel from office, despite the absence of factual and evidentiary support.”
DeSantis appointed Gregory Tony to replace Israel.
Israel is running against Tony to get his old job back in the 2020 election.