Parkland cop accused of failing to act in 2018 shooting makes demand (2024)

An ex-sheriff's deputy acquitted of charges of failing to act during the horror 2018 Parkland school shooting has demanded that his former employer pays his legal bills.

Scot Peterson, the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) deputy stationed at the school when gunman Nicholas Cruz killed 17 people and injured 17 more, ranted on Wednesday outside the courtroom.

'BSO should pay my fees because of February 14, 2018, during that horrific shooting, I did absolutely nothing wrong,' he said.

Peterson was found not guilty in June 2023 of 11 charges related to the shooting, as he alleged that he believed the shooting was happening outside of a building where Cruz slaughtered his classmates and teachers.

Scot Peterson, a former Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) deputy, is seeking the BSO pay his legal fees after he was found not guilty of failing to act during the 2018 Parkland school shooting

Peterson, seen in surveillance footage during the shooting, was accused of cowering outside a school building while a gunman opened fire inside

When Cruz opened fire on Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, he methodically moved through the three-story 1200 building with an assault rifle.

After the teenager killed 11 and wounded 13 on the first floor, Peterson arrived on the scene, and his charges were related to the six killed and four injured on the third floor. There were no victims on the second floor.

Although Peterson said he believed the gunshots were happening outside, the Miami Herald obtained police radio dispatches that saw him warn that 'we have shots fired, possible shots fired - 1200 building.'

Peterson made several more dispatches that the outlet claimed focused on 'inside' the building, as he also warned law enforcement to stay away from the building while Cruz fled the scene.

'Do not approach the 12 or 1300 building, stay at least 500 feet away,' he said over the radio, according to the outlet.

Peterson faced widespread backlash in the aftermath of the school shooting, which stands as one of the deadliest in US history, as he was branded the 'coward of Broward' by the media.

At his trial, Peterson was found not guilty on charges of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury, as his claims that he believed the shooting was outside were bolstered by early reports that a victim was near the school football field.

He broke down in tears and thanked jurors as his acquittal was read, and filed against the BSO to seek that they pay his legal fees.

Gunman Nicholas Cruz, now serving life without parole, massacred 17 schoolchildren and teachers during the horrific February 2018 shooting

Peterson (seen celebrating his acquittal last year) claimed that he believed the shooting was happening outside the building where the gunman opened fire

A total of 17 people were killed in the shooting. Pictured L-R -Jaime Guttenberg, Nicholas Dworet, Martin Duque, Meadow Pollack, Cara Loughran;Alyssa Alhadeff, Luke Hoyer, Joaquin Oliver, Gina Montalto;Alaina Petty, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang, Alex Schachter;Helena Ramsey, Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, Chris Hixon

The BSO had refused to pay the former deputy's fees as they claimed that despite his acquittal, Peterson violated their policies that would have led to his termination, but he quit before he could be fired.

That led to Peterson's court case this week, as he filed for an evidentiary hearing claiming he could prove that he did not violate the BSO policies.

'Everything I did was based on my real time intelligence during that shooting,' he said.

'I did not violate a single policy of the Broward Sheriff's Office.'

Following his acquittal, Peterson's attorney filed for the fees to be paid by BSO, but the sheriff's office's attorney claimed that he never received an itemized invoice for the legal fees as required.

The judge ruled that Peterson did not qualify for an evidentiary hearing, and recommended he pursue the matter in civil court.

While Peterson was acquitted, the police response to the shooting sparked widespread anger, and has been compared to the same weak reaction cops had to the Uvalde school shooting in Texas.

The gunman Nicholas Cruz was able to sneak away from police by blending in with other students fleeing the scene, with the response from cops heavily criticized in the aftermath

After he shot a total of 34 people, Cruz was able to sneak away from police by blending in with other students fleeing the scene.

He was not apprehended for over an hour after, while police were still at the school.

They were condemned in a damning police report two months later, that noted how Coral Springs Police officers arrived on the scene to find Broward County Sheriff's deputies cowering in cover instead of running in to help.

Coral Springs Police Officer Bryan Wilkins said in his report, obtained by the Miami Herald, that he arrived on the scene within two minutes of getting the call.

Once there, he found one BSO deputy taking cover behind a tree, even though the deputy told him he knew the location of the shooter.

'I saw approximately four Broward County Sheriff's Office vehicles parked [on the road outside the school]... with their personnel taking up exterior positions behind their vehicles,' Wilkins wrote.

Parkland cop accused of failing to act in 2018 shooting makes demand (2024)


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