Thursday, February 22, 2018

CAN YOU SAY "DEVELOPMENT MORATORIUM?" University of Florida, Levin College of Law, Conservation Clinic re: Legality of MORATORIA

Yes we can!

Here's a timely legal memorandum from our Conservation Clinic at our University of Florida Levin College of Law.  See below.  It's here

Since St. Johns County Commission unanimously enacted a unconscionable moratorium on legal medical marijuana clinics, adopted by 3/4 of voters in 2016, we DON'T have to imitate the late, great Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood), and ask,
"Can you say that?  Moratorium?  I knew you could!"  

There's no a precedent.  Let's get to work.

Before further destruction and devastation and sprawl and waste, we need a growth moratorium.  Now.



I. Nature of the tool 
Moratoria in land use are temporary, legislatively-enacted periods during which a local government stops giving some type of permit. Moratoria allow local governments to ensure that a community’s problems are not compounded during the time the local government needs to formulate and implement a policy response to an issue.1 Moratoria also prevent developers and landowners from racing to beat planned or imminent land use changes by carrying out development that is poorly planned or harmful to the community.2 By providing such assistance, moratoria give local governments more time to engage in planning and public participation in land use decisions, thus ensuring better input and dialog with developers and landowners that might be affected by future policy changes.3

II. Relationship to waterfronts
Currently waterfront communities are losing public access at an alarming rate as marinas all over the state shut their doors to the public and convert to dockominiums,4 fishing businesses close their doors and sell their land for residential development, private but open-to-the-public boat ramps close their doors to the public, and fewer boat repair facilities remain on the water.
Communities, the Department of Community Affairs, and the Florida Legislature have begun to respond to these changes. Assessing the problem, developing solutions, and implementing solutions require time, yet the loss of public access remains rapid. Moratoria present a legal tool that a community may utilize to temporarily halt loss of public access through conversion of recreational and working waterfronts to residential uses until the community can evaluate and implement integrated processes that seek to preserve public water access.5

III. Legal Issues
While the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that a temporary taking of property requires compensation,6 Supreme Court precedent does not indicate that moratoria on
1 Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, 216 F.3d 764, 777 (9th Cir. 2000).
2 Id.
3 Id.; Keshbro, Inc. v. City of Miami, 801 So.2d 864, 874-75 (Fla. 2001).
4 See, e.g. St. Petersburg Times, Will Van Sant, County Loses Out in Marina Deal, Again, (May 5, 2006),
5 Many waterfront communities in Florida also use moratoria on development and repair as a tool for prioritizing after a disaster such as a hurricane. See, e.g. Marco Island code of ordinances § 6-178 et. seq.: Lee County code of ordinances § 13 1⁄2 - 58.

development necessarily constitute a per se taking of property.7 Courts apply the takings test from Penn Central8 to determine if a moratorium results in a taking.9 The Penn Central test inquires as to the economic impact of the regulation on the property owner, the reasonable investment-backed expectations of the party frustrated by the regulation, and the character of the government regulation.10
Florida law echoes Federal law in finding that moratoria constitute permissible growth management tools.11 Properly enacted moratoria also do not violate the due process rights of those that had an expectation of developing a parcel according to the rules before the moratorium even if they relied on the prior rules.12
In designing a moratorium that is less likely to effect a taking, a local government should bear certain points in mind. First, the moratorium must be strictly time limited.13

Next, the ordinance establishing the moratorium should include clear purpose statements (“Whereas” clauses) that specify the problem the local government faces in its planning and why the local government needs the moratorium (i.e.—the problem will worsen in the time required to gain public input and develop a policy response and methods to implement the policy response).

IV. Pro & Cons
On the positive side, moratoria may give a local government the time to it might need to do the data gathering, research, public meetings, and planning requisite to do proper growth management for the benefit of the public as a whole. If a local government suddenly feels pressured by a growth boom to enact new growth management regulations, these may not developed as carefully as they could be if the local
6 First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale v. County of Los Angeles, Cal., 482 U.S. 304, 318-19 (1987).
7 Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Reg’l Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302 (2002).
8 Penn Central Trans. Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978).
9 Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Reg’l. Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302, 321 (2002).
10 Penn Central Trans. Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104, 124 (1978).
11 See, e.g. Berg v. Dept. of Community Affairs, Case Nos. 91-7243RP, pp. *5-*6, *14 (Fla. Dept. of Admin. Hrng. May 8, 1992).
12 The case of WCI Communities, Inc. v. City of Coral Springs, 885 So.2d 9 (4th DCA 2004), observed that substantive due process challenges to zoning regulations are reviewed under a very deferential standard. Id. at 914. This standard only requires that there exist a possible legitimate public purpose for the regulation and that there is a rational basis for belief that the zoning regulation could further the legitimate public purpose. Id.
13 Moratoria often last for one year. If the local government has not, despite good faith efforts, been able to fully create and implement a policy response to the problem that gave rise to the moratorium, the moratorium may be extended to allow additional time. However, too lengthy a moratorium or too many extensions will greatly increase the likelihood of a challenge to the moratorium and a court’s finding a taking under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

government first chooses to place a moratorium on new development to preserve the status quo as planning proceeds more systematically.

V. Best policy practice

On July 20, 2005, the Monroe County, Florida Board of County Commissioners adopted an Interim Development Ordinance15 The ordinance, instead of adopting a long series of introductory “whereas” clauses that outline the reasons and findings supporting the policy in the attached ordinance, these findings, justifications, and record of past related activities were incorporated into the main body of the ordinance.16 Some of these included a list of meetings, including public meetings, that included discussions of the problems of loss of recreational and working waterfronts and public access to waters in the county; statement of the potential for negative impacts on the economy, society, and safety, health, and welfare of the county’s residents if the loss of access is not stopped; the need for analysis of the problem and possible solutions; need to maintain the status quo during analysis and policy development; references to relevant Comprehensive Plan policies directed at preservation of access; statement that the County entered into a contract for needed analysis and policy recommendations, including Comprehensive Plan amendments and Land Development Recommendations; and noting the temporary nature of the moratorium.17
The ordinance carefully lays out the activities to which it applies18 and those activities to which it does not apply.19 The ordinance specifies how it is implemented through deferral of applications for permits, issuance of permits, and issuance of development orders.20
  1. 14  Gardens Country Club, Inc. v. Palm Beach County, 590 So.2d 488, (4th DCA1991).
  2. 15  Monroe County, Florida Ordinance No. 017-2005.
  3. 16  Monroe County, Florida Ordinance No. 017-2005, sec. 9.5-185.2.
  4. 17  This is also addressed later in the ordinance as well. Monroe County, Florida Ordinance No.
017-2005, sec. 9.5-185.10.
18 Monroe County, Florida Ordinance No. 017-2005, sec. 9.5-185.5. 19 Monroe County, Florida Ordinance No. 017-2005, sec. 9.5-185.4. 20 Monroe County, Florida Ordinance No. 017-2005, sec. 9.5-185.6. 

Samora in as new Beach commissioner (SAR, December 2017). -- Duking in this reckless, feckless MBA was a big mistake. Will he seek election? What do y'all reckon?

Commissioner Don SamoraDon SamoraCommissioner(904) 460-4404comd

In December, four St. Augustine Beach Commissioners held lightning-fast interviews and selected as their new colleague Donald Samora. 

In hindsight, this was a big mistake.  Donald Samora is a big disappointment. Shortly after he was appointed, his decisive vote brought about a cutback of time allowed for comment on agenda items, from there minutes to two minutes (Commissioner Maggie Kostka and Mayor Undine George dissented; Samora was joined by Vice Mayor Margaret England and disgraced ex-Mayor Richard Burtt O'Brien). 

For his convenience, due to an unexplained schedule conflict, newbie Commissioner Donald Samora arrogantly demanded that the February SAB Commission meeting be rescheduled to February 12, which conflicted with the St. Augustine City Commission meeting. Samora was recommended by controversial immature ideologue St. Augustine City Vice Mayor TODD DAVID NEVILLE, a/k/a "ODD TODD" and ODD TODD's union- busting consultant father, TIMOTHY NEVILLE a/k/a "THE ODDFATHER." 

In Commissioner comment at the end of the February 12, 2018 meeting, Donald Samora egged on St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine Celeste Pawlowski George's ejection of government watchdogs Thomas Reynolds and Merrill Roland from the meeting. 

In hindsight, Donald Samora should never have been hired, and only due to the shrieking shallowness of the process -- dupey three minute introductions -- did Samora  euchre support from four SAB Commissioners for the last year of resigned Commissioner Sherman Gary Snodgrass's terms. 

I don't know whether Snowjobber Donald Samora will seek election this year, but if so, SAB voters need to vote him out. 

They need to replace this hick hack MBA Eddie Haskell -- this oleaginous, unctuous, unjust steward -- an unfeeling, insouciant supporter of the ancient regime and the status quo in the corrupt itty-bitty sh**ty City of St. Augustine Beach. 

Thus, I support Ms. Rosetta Bailey, an experienced, intelligent, businesswoman and civic activist.  Ms. Bailey cherishes free speech rights.  She broke the "glass ceiling" as a bank VP in Pittsburgh eleven years before the term "glass ceiling" was coined. SAB needs Rose Bailey on St. Augustine Beach City Commission

Commissioner Don SamoraDon SamoraCommissioner(904)

By Jared Keever
Posted Dec 5, 2017 at 12:01 AM
St. Augustine Record

After nearly three hours of public interviews, a determined St. Augustine Beach city commission chose a new commissioner and restored its ranks to five.

City Attorney Jim Wilson swore in Beach restaurant owner Donald Samora on Monday night after commissioners questioned each of the 14 candidates who applied to fill the seat vacated by Commissioner Gary Snodgrass last month.

Snodgrass resigned Nov. 6, citing a growing workload he could no longer handle.

It was unclear whether commissioners could get through all the questions and public comments in one evening as the meeting started and commissioner and vice mayor, Undine George, suggested that commissioners develop a “short list” of perhaps five candidates and then take time to review qualifications and develop more extensive written questions to be asked at a later date.

“I’d say it is a tall task to say we are going to pick one at one meeting,” she said, characterizing the decision ahead of them as “grave.”

Mayor Rich O’Brien agreed that the decision for an interim commissioner would be “the most important thing that we tackle this year,” but saw no reason to delay further.

“I think we are fully capable of making this decision tonight and move on,” he said.

The first round of votes saw six candidates selected from among the 14 as commissioners cast votes for their top five picks.

James Kaye, Roberta Odom and Samora all received three votes each. Patricia Gill, Dylan Rumrell and Ernesto Torres each received two votes.

The second round of voting eliminated Gill and Torres, with Odom and Samora each getting three votes a second time.

Commissioners took those top two vote-getters, asked a few additional questions, and voted in Samora.

An owner of the Beachcomber restaurant on A Street and district sales manager for Alpine, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., Samora will serve the rest of Snodgrass’ term, which will expire Dec. 31, 2018.

After Samora took the dais, the commission voted for George and Commissioner Margaret England to serve as the city’s mayor and vice mayor, respectively.

They will be sworn in at the commission’s January meeting and serve for the duration of 2018.

The following is a summary of candidates, based on their letters of interest and resumes provided to the city:

• Rose Bailey was a vice president and regional loan manager over three states for PNC Bank. After retiring, she worked as a mortgage broker and processor.

• David Bradfield’s background includes real estate and development, and he has served on the planning and zoning board.

• Patricia Gill, a city resident for more than 20 years, has served on the beach planning and code enforcement boards. She’s also worked in higher education, holding both teaching and administrative positions.

• Jeffrey Holleran, a beach planning board member, has created and led several local businesses.

• James Kaye has about 40 years’ experience as a family physician and was the medical examiner of Ocean County, New Jersey. He’s lived in St. Augustine Beach for nine years.

• Kevin Kincaid, who came to St. Augustine Beach after retirement, worked from 1979 until his retirement in 2008 for the fire department in Fairfax County, Virginia, in both firefighting and administrative positions. He also has experience as a medical escort.

• Patricia Wittman Kreis has lived in the city since 2012. She works for Dell Technologies and has worked in technology for more than 30 years.

• Michael Longstreet, a former beach commissioner, has lived in the city for 23 years. He has also served on the city’s beautification advisory committee.

• Roberta Odom, a realtor, serves on St. Augustine Beach’s planning board.

• Tom Reynolds, a stay-at-home dad of two sons, bills himself in his letter as a “government watcher.” His most recent employment includes commercial pickup and delivery driver, though he’s had experience in other industries.

• Dylan Rumrell is the owner of two businesses: Ancient City Brewing and Southern Cross Consulting Company.

• Donald Samora, a beach resident since 2010, is a business owner.

• Ernesto Torres, who has served in the military for about 30 years, is on the city’s Code Enforcement Board.

• Kay Watkins is a Navy veteran and former hospital laboratory scientist. She retired in 2016 from the Naval Hospital Jacksonville as an off-shift supervisor.

Edward Adelbert Slavin
  • Edward Adelbert Slavin
  • Rank 0
Donald Samora is a big disappointment. Shortly after he was appointed, his decisive vote brought about a cutback of time allowed for comment on agenda items, from there minutes to two minutes (Commissioner Maggie Kostka and Mayor Undine George dissented; Samora was joined by Vice Mayor Margaret England and disgraced ex-Mayor Richard Burtt O'Brien). For his convenience, due to an unexplained schedule conflict, newbie Commissioner Donald Samora arrogantly demanded that the February SAB Commission meeting be rescheduled to February 12, which conflicted with the St. Augustine City Commission meeting. Samora was recommended by controversial St. Augustine City Vice Mayor Todd Neville, and his father, Timothy Neville. Samora egged on St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine Celeste Pawlowski George's ejection of government watchdogs Thomas Reynolds and Merrill Roland from the February 12, 2018 meeting. In hindsight, Donald Samora should never have been hired, and only due to the shallowness of the process -- three minute interviews -- did he euchre support from four SAB Commissioners for the last year of resigned Commissioner Sherman Gary Snodgrass's terms. I don't know whether Donald Samora will seek election this year, but if so, SAB voters need to vote to replace this oleaginous, unctuous, unjust steward, an unfeeling, insouciant supporter of the ancient regime and the status quo. Thus, I support Ms. Rosetta Bailey, an experienced businesswoman and activist, who cherishes free speech rights and broke the "glass ceiling" as a bank VP in Pittsburgh eleven years before the term "glass ceiling" was coined. SAB needs Rose Bailey on St. Augustine Beach City Commission.« less

The day Florida teachers resigned en masse in the country’s first statewide strike (WaPo)

A proud day in Florida labor history, worth celebrating today. When I was in junior high school, my mother helped lead a strike by the secretaries and custodians at her employer, Camden County College in Blackwood New Jersey. It was over in five days and they got paid for the week they were on strike. That apparently happened one other time in U.S. labor history (New York typographers, 1948), according to the late USDO Administrative Law Judge Melvin Warshaw, who told me that during my judicial clerkship for Chief Judge Nahum Litt in the 1980s. It turns out the strike was illegal. Yes, my mother and the other underpaid support staffers struck illegally, stood up to the awesome power of the State of New Jersey, and won. The strike coincided with the first day of summer school registration, back when secretaries were essential (there were IBM punchers involved). It also coincided with construction of four new buildings. Construction workers would not cross the picket line. I helped my mom picket, and was in awe of the power of organized workers. One cement mixer driver turned around and came back, bringing the ladies flowers. Florida needs strong, free democratic labor unions. I wold never have been able to afford Georgetown University but for the pay raise occasioned by union organizing by my mom and her colleagues.

The day Florida teachers resigned en masse in the country’s first statewide strike


Florida teachers with protest signs during the 1968 walkout. (State Archives of Florida)
Some teachers left goodbye messages to their students on classroom blackboards. Others cleared their desks.
It was Feb. 16, 1968, a Friday, and a sign of what was coming that Monday in Florida: the nation’s first statewide teachers strike.
On Thursday, West Virginia’s teachers staged a statewide walkout over pay and benefits, closing school for more than 275,000 students.
In Florida a half-century ago, schools opened their doors, but more than 40 percent of the state’s teachers didn’t walk through them.
“Half of Florida Teachers Resign Over School Aid,” read a front-page Washington Post story, which cited estimates that between 25,000 and 35,000 of the state’s 61,000 educators didn’t show up for class. Their actions amounted to resignations because the state did not permit teachers to strike.
The walkout would last weeks, fuel fears about unions and contribute to the changing image of public school educators from meek to militant. At a time when strikes by public employees were becoming more common across the country, the stance taken by Florida’s teachers stood out for its scale.
Florida Gov. Claude Kirk had rushed home over the weekend from California “to urge the teachers not to ‘leave your children,’ but then returned to take his family to Disneyland,” The Post article noted.The teachers’ grievances centered on low pay and inadequate funding for schools that were struggling under neglect and a population boom. Kirk, meanwhile, had vowed not to raise taxes.
With teachers absent, classes across the state were canceled and schools closed.
“It would appear at this time that the teachers of Florida have successfully made their point,” Phil Constans Jr., executive secretary of the Florida Education Association, which led the strike, said in a news release on Feb. 19, 1968. “We regret having to close schools, but it proved to be the only course left to the profession after the politicians of this state failed to meet their responsibilities to the children.”
In one county alone, more than 6,000 teachers gathered together in a cold rain, he said, and in another, 1,000 teachers shivered in an unheated rodeo arena.
The strike stirred anxiety locally and in other major cities, which had seen unrest among its own.
“The rising militancy of public employees, from New York garbagemen to Florida teachers, is a danger signal in the country,” read one editorial at the time. “The idea that it can be blackmailed by sweeping disruption of education is alien to American principles — no matter how great the grievances.”
“Don’t mess with me, I’m a TEACHER!” read a political cartoon at the time that depicted a woman towering over a group of small figures labeled “The Public.”
Florida Education Association materials from 1968. (State Archives of Florida)
Administrators in Florida scrambled to find substitutes, certified or not, to take teachers’ places. Suddenly classes were being led by college students, retired teachers and housewives.
Gary Cornwell, who was a junior at Titusville High School at the time, recalled a former Army drill sergeant teaching one of his classes. On the morning students were planning a walkout in a show of solidarity with the teachers, the substitute tried to convince them to stay in class, Cornwell said in an interview.
“If you walk out now you’re throwing away your education,” he recalled her saying. In the front row sat a quiet girl whose name he didn’t know even then. “This little mousy girl stood up and said, ‘That’s bull—-. We’re getting the f— out of here.’ So, we all got up and left.”
Before going on strike, many of the teachers had discussed the issues with their classes, and Cornwell said he couldn’t recall a student who didn’t participate in the walkout: “There was nobody left in any classroom.”
Cornwell, now 65 and a retired university librarian who runs camps for children with diabetes, remembers the teachers’ strike as a chaotic moment in a year filled with them. That same year brought the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy and riots and antiwar protests. Cornwell watched classmates barely older than him drafted to serve in Vietnam and never return home.
Florida was also not the only place where public educators were fed up. Walkouts had taken place in other cities before the statewide stance, 
and more would occur after it.
From New Mexico to New Jersey, they were happening in poor and wealthy communities, in cities with strong and weak union traditions.
The Florida strike is often overshadowed by one that occurred in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville neighborhoods in New York the same year, said Jody Noll, who has written about the Florida strike for his master’s degree and now doctorate for Georgia State University. But the two are distinct in many ways, including the image they present about race relations at the time, he said. Unlike the New York event, which highlighted racial tensions, Florida saw black and white teachers protest together.
Noll said the Florida strike is also notable because even though some teachers didn’t get their jobs back, it forced the governor to negotiate. The standoff ended March 9 after the state agreed to a small increase, $10.2 million, in school aid. It also pushed the state to grant collective bargaining rights to public employees and it empowered students, Noll said. In his research, the only arrests he found were of students who had walked out in support of their teachers.
Letters in the messy handwriting of the young were among the many sent to state officials during the three-week walkout, according to documents preserved by the State Library and Archive of Florida. Other letters came from teachers, business owners and retirees. Some carried no name.
A child holds a sign to greet the governor in Tampa in 1968. (State Archives of Florida)
“Those who sell out to the teachers at the expense of the taxpayers will be remembered on election day,” read one from a person who signed it “one of many keeping score.”
“If teachers can get away with unionization, then what about all other city employee?” read another letter. “What about unions for firemen, policemen and all others. Each year they ‘want more’ and if their unions do not get more they strike. It would be one hell of a life for retired folks, taxes going up each year to support these greedy ones.”
On the third day of the strike, a sixth-grade student’s mother wrote Commissioner of Education Floyd Christian to tell him that schools were better equipped and didn’t charge fees where her family had recently lived — Montgomery County, Md.
“Apparently, our teachers in Fla. have real grievances I used to term ‘exaggerations,’ before living up north for a while,” she wrote. “We realize Maryland has the obvious advantage of many, many years’ experience of meeting the needs of people in every age level (and conditions are not perfect). However, we — as homeowners — want to see Florida grow population-wise, with young families as well as retirees.”
She signed her name in the style of the times, Mrs. Jack Carlson.
Christian wrote back assuring her they were working toward a solution, according to a copy of his letter in the archives. He also pointed out that Maryland had its own problems.
“Interestingly enough, at the time your letter hit my desk, there was a reporter from Montgomery County in my office, advising me of the strike they had in Montgomery County three weeks ago to get salaries raised by $500,” Christian wrote on Feb. 23, 1968.
A story about the Maryland strike shared the front page of The Washington Post on Feb. 2, 1968, with Eddie Adams’s famous photograph of the execution of a Viet Cong prisoner. The article describes the strike as the first in the Washington area and the result of stalled salary talks between the teacher’s association and the schools. School administrators had proposed a starting teacher salary of $6,250. The association wanted starting salaries set at $6,600.
The strike ended, according to another front-page article 10 days later, with teachers receiving a base salary of $6,340. The new salary was described as “the highest in the metropolitan area.”
An article buried deeper in the newspaper hinted at how well that was sitting with teachers in Arlington, Fairfax, D.C. and Prince George’s County. The headline read: “Strike Pressures Other Area Schools.”
By the time Florida’s strike was over, teachers had also taken stances in Colorado, Michigan, New York, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
By September, at the start of a new school year, the National Education Association predicted as many as 300 to 400 teacher strikes in the coming eight months, according to a New York Times article.  The head of the American Federation of Teachers went further. He said he didn’t rule out the possibility of a nationwide strike.
Read more Retropolis:

Armed sheriff's deputy stayed outside Florida school while mass killing took place (WaPo)

Who guards the guardians? How old, and how well-trained and prepared, are the Sheriff's deputies at your children's school? Is St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR using the school "resource officer" position as a sinecure for superannuated senior officers and political patronage? You tell me. Take photos. Make videos. What oversight does the St. Johns County School Board do on security in our school? "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?". Local government watchdog Tom Reynolds appeared on First Coast News after Sandy Hook massacre, calling for armed officers at the front door of every single school in St. Johns County, Florida. After Mr. Reynolds spoke at St. Johns County Commission, the Sheriff's brother-in-law, "COMMANDER CHARLES MULLIGAN," claimed there was a "plan." Time to ask questions and demand answers. Now.

Armed sheriff's deputy stayed outside Florida school while mass killing took place

Timeline: How the deadly Florida school shooting unfolded
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The armed school resource officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took a defensive position outside the school and did not enter the building while the shooter was killing students and teachers inside with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday.
Israel said he suspended School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson on Thursday after seeing a video from the Parkland, Fla., school that showed Peterson outside the school building where the shooter was inside and attacking.
“What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position, and never went in,” Israel said.
He said Peterson was armed, and was in uniform, and should have gone into the building during the 6-minute event, which left 17 people, most of them teenagers, dead. When asked what the deputy should have done, Israel said: “Went in and addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”
Peterson, 54, a resource officer at the school since 2009, resigned after Israel suspended him. Israel said two other officers have been placed on a restricted assignment pending an internal investigation relating the school shooting.
“They could have done more, they should have done more,” Israel said. “It’s a fluid investigation. They are on restrictive duty.”
Attempts to reach Peterson on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Israel said that Peterson was in an office dealing with a school-related issue when the first shots were fired on Feb. 14 and that he got on his radio and then moved toward the outside of the building where the shooting was taking place. When asked what he is seen doing on the video, Israel replied: “Nothing.”
“I think he took up a position where it looked like he could see the western-most entry into the building and stayed where he was,” Israel said. “Never went in.”
Israel said he “clearly” knew there was a shooter inside, something that made him “sick to my stomach.”
“There are no words,” Israel said. “These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals. I’ve been to the homes where they’re sitting shiva. I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just, there are no words.”
The revelation about the deputy comes as law enforcement officials and authorities have faced intense criticism for whether they missed previous chances to prevent the massacre. The FBI was warned last month about the alleged shooter’s potential for violence at a school, but failed to investigate that tip, while school officials, social services investigators and the sheriff’s office had multiple encounters or troubling warnings about him over the years.
Israel’s description of Peterson as an armed, trained officer who was present for a mass killing but did not confront the shooter also comes as President Trump, in response to the Parkland massacre, has suggested arming teachers as a way to deter possible threats, while the National Rifle Association has also pushed for more armed guards in schools.
Trump has frequently suggested in response to mass shootings that more law-abiding people with firearms could help stop a shooter and the head of the NRA has repeatedly suggested the same. However, Israel’s announcement Thursday suggested that even if a person is armed, trained and available to help, that may not stop a mass killing that unfolds in a matter of minutes.
The deputy’s decision to remain outside breaks with police tactics for responding to active-shooting incidents. Ever since the 1999 attack at Colorado’s Columbine High School, authorities have emphasized the importance of pursuing the attacker or attackers quickly in an effort to eliminate the threat and prevent additional deaths.
“Columbine resulted in new approaches in which patrol officers are being trained to respond to active shooters as quickly as possible,” the Police Executive Research Forum, a think tank backed by major-cities chiefs, wrote in a 2014 report.
Of course, this approach brings with it inherent issues, the report continued, because “a faster response is more dangerous to responding officers. Patrol officers who quickly move to confront an active shooter face a high likelihood of being shot themselves.”
Officers involved in responding to these shootings have later described the terror they felt. A report released by the Justice Department after the San Bernardino, Calif., terror attack quoted an officer who described checking room after room in the conference center where the shooting occurred, expecting to find the shooters behind the final doors.
“I don’t want to say I made peace, but I was ready to go,” the officer said. “We got into one room, and it was empty. We had a quick breath, and in we went to the last room. I was never so excited to not see anybody.”
Reviews like that Justice Department study are regularly conducted after mass shootings, allowing officials to study how officers responded in order to determine what others can improve upon. Following the shooting rampages at the Washington Navy Yard, a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and the Virginia Tech campus, authorities reviewed what they did and sought ways to improve future responses.
Peterson is mentioned as part of a 2016 social services agency investigation into Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman. According to a Florida Department of Children and Families report detailing that investigation, Peterson was approached by investigators and “refused to share any information … regarding [an] incident that took place with” the teenager.
Berman reported from Washington. This story has been updated.
Watch as students confronted Florida state legislators to demand action on guns