Former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after facing widespread criticism for standing outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, while a gunman killed 17 people in February in Parkland, Florida.
Even Sheriff Scott Israel publicly criticized Peterson's inaction, but still the deputy was allowed to step down and collect his $100,000 per year pension. Now, some parents of the victims are pointing to a 2014 assault case involving Israel's son as a possible reason he wasn't fired, WPLG-TV reported.
What's the story?
In 2014, two 17-year-old students allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old freshman, with one of them holding the freshman down by the ankles while the other kicked him, grabbed his genitals, and simulated rape through the boy's clothes with a baseball bat.
The boy who was holding the 14-year-old down was Israel's son, Brett. Peterson wrote in his police report that the incident was a "simple battery" and gave the assailants three days' suspension from school.
Alex Arreaza, a defense attorney who represents one of the Parkland victims who survived the shooting, told WPLG the charges should have been more severe, potentially even resulting in a felony.
"He could have been charged with a lewd and lascivious, and I'm being conservative," Arreaza said.
"Is that like an alternative universe law," Arreaza continued. "What happens? Because you're in school you don't have to obey regular laws?"
Favor for a favor?
Some of the victims' parents believe that Israel may have given Peterson job security and favorable treatment as a result of how Peterson handled that case.
"[Peterson] was lazy and this could have given him protection to keep his job at the school during those four years," said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed at the high school.
Israel did not respond to requests for comment from WPLG, but the parents insist that the connection should be investigated to determine whether Peterson failed to do his job properly four years ago.
"I don't care if it was four days ago or four years ago," Fred Guttenberg, father of another victim, told WPLG. "If people didn't do their job and they failed in their responsibilities, it should be investigated."