(ANTIMEDIA)Florida — The Broward County Sheriff’s Office released video Thursday of one of its police officers failing to enter a building at Stoneman Douglas high school as the shooting was unfolding.
The footage was released following a lawsuit filed by news outlets seeking video surveillance. Though the sheriff’s office and the school fought against its release, citing public records law and a desire to keep other predators from finding holes in the school’s security system, the judge ultimately ruled in favor of releasing the video to the public. It does not include footage of the shooting itself.
The video shows a school administrator running up to a door of one of the buildings, followed by an officer. Multiple outlets have reported that the officer is Scot Peterson, who was suspended from his position as the school’s resource officer and ultimately resigned after he was widely criticized for failing to pursue the shooter, staying outside instead.
According to the sheriff’s office, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel (one of the outlets that sued for the footage), “After Peterson took up his position [outside the building where Cruz was shooting], Cruz remained inside the 1200 building for an additional three minutes or more before getting rid of his gun and fleeing…”
Other officers have also faced public scolding for failing to enter the buildings where they believed the shooter was gunning down students. Audio of their police scanner released last week reveals one officer, believed to be Peterson, actually advised fellow cops to stay away from the buildings.
Peterson has maintained his reactions were appropriate. As USA Today summarized this week following the release of the video footage:
“Peterson’s lawyer, Joseph A. DiRuzzo III, said his client has been unfairly described as a ‘coward’ for following protocol. DiRuzzo said Peterson believed the shooting was taking place outside the school and followed protocol for such an incident. That included taking up a ‘tactical position’ outside the building and initiating a Code Red lockdown.
“Peterson, DiRuzzo said, had the ‘presence of mind’ to have school administrators go to the school’s video room and review the closed-circuit cameras to locate the shooter and then obtain a description for law enforcement.”
Nevertheless, Peterson has drawn the ire of even his own police department, which Sheriff Scott Israel condemning his actions. Upon releasing the footage this week, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said the footage “speaks for itself.”
That statement also reportedly said:
“His actions were enough to warrant an internal affairs investigation, as requested by Sheriff Scott Israel on Feb. 21. After being suspended without pay, Peterson chose to resign and immediately retired rather than face possible termination.”
Local police are not the only government entity to come under fire regarding the Parkland shooting. The FBI admitted last week in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that they failed to stop Nikolas Cruz on two occasions when they received tips about the threat he posed.