Florida’s Governor Desantis Meant Well, But Replaced One Problematic Broward County Sheriff With Another

In January, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Broward Sheriff Scott Israel from office over law enforcement’s handling of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

HOLLYWOOD, FL – Governor DeSantis did well by removing Scott Israel from office last July 11. And we had high hopes for his replacement, Gregory Tony. But time and facts have revealed that Tony is unfit to serve, is in violation of the oath of office, and of law; and that he should now be removed by the governor for malfeasance.

Scott Israel was a greater problem than most people realize, principally due to the dereliction of the Media who, after having received many reports over several years of Scott Israel’s criminal acts, refused to investigate or report about those crimes. The Media appear to have colluded in the ex-sheriff’s criminal career by covering it up, and have never refuted any of those reports.

Scott Israel’s crimes ranged from relatively mundane campaign-related violations (reported previously by Bob Norman, formerly an investigative reporter for Local10) to misprision of treason, misprision of felony, obstruction of justice, breach of duty, suppression of evidence, and other felonies, in connection with his unlawful employment of deputies who refuse to bear allegiance to the Constitution, with recruitment of others like them, and with perpetuation of unlawful aspects of the Promise Program, implementation of the policies of which require violation of various laws. (More detail on Israel’s crimes will be the subject of future columns.)

Interestingly, only two known responses to accusations that he was violating the Constitution came from Scott Israel. One response he gave during an appearance on a talk radio program hosted by Joyce Kaufman on WFTL 850. When confronted with his unlawful employment of Deputy Nezar Hamze, a director in organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood that promote Sharia, Israel replied, “It’s not a problem and I won’t talk about it anymore.”

After refusing to respond to multiple letters sent to him that dealt with the same issue, and which explained in detail the constitutional restrictions on employing those who refuse to support the Constitution, Israel said that he refused to answer them “Because they are bigoted.” The law that Israel swore an oath to support and defend is, in Israel’s stated view, bigoted.

There is video that can be viewed on YouTube (and added below) in which Israel as sheriff visits a mosque, accompanied by Deputy Hamze. At about eight minutes into the video, Israel may be heard clearly encouraging those in attendance to seek employment as deputies with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Governor DeSantis removed Scott Israel for other reasons, however, alleging neglect of duty, but did not see fit to acknowledge Israel’s criminal activities. In any case, removal of the ex-sheriff was the right thing to do, though prosecution is certainly called for.

Gregory Tony was the governor’s answer to the vacuum created by the removal of Israel. Tony came recommended by Republicans who had acquired access to DeSantis after the tragic massacre that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, for which Israel was partly to blame. And so DeSantis appointed Tony on the basis of their recommendations. But that appointment was a mistake.

Tony is committing certain crimes now that Israel committed while in office, including breach of duty, misprision of felony, and misprision of treason (details of which were covered in my column published by The Published Reporter just last week). But there are also allegations of crimes previously committed by him, which have been reported by Chuck Whatley, formerly a deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Whatley alleges that Tony passed fraudulent checks and committed grand theft while attending college in Florida, and chose to flee, but was arrested a year later in his home state of Pennsylvania. And that Tony lied about his arrest on paperwork connected both to his former employment as a police officer in Coral Springs, Florida, and to his recent appointment as sheriff of Broward County. (Whatley posted video of himself on his Facebook profile, in which he explains those allegations.)

Whatley has said that he has requested public records that document these charges via the Freedom of Information Act, which he intends to publish on receiving them.

What Tony represents at this point is a great embarrassment to Governor DeSantis, and to Republicans like Andrew Pollack, who recommended Tony to DeSantis, but really to all the people of Broward County.

Tony lied to all of Broward County. Tony refuses to enforce constitutional law, but tolerates unlawful employment of dangerous men as deputies who refuse to bear full allegiance to the Constitution, which is an inviolable prerequisite to holding the job. Tony is a man who refuses to keep his oath of office. Tony is a public menace, whom Governor DeSantis must remove from office.

The sooner that Governor DeSantis realizes and corrects the mistake of appointing Tony, the sooner he can get over the embarrassment.

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