The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association has scheduled a no-confidence vote for Sheriff Scott Israel over the “unprecedented cover-up” of the death of one of his staff, Jason Fitzsimon, and his behavior during the lead-up to and aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, union president Deputy Jeff Bell announced Friday.
Broward County Sheriff Deputy Jason Fitzsimon was found dead on his sofa after daring to question the official media narrative around the Parkland shooting. According to colleagues, the 42-year-old had been in excellent health prior to his sudden and unexpected death.
According to union president Deputy Jeff Bell, the union is accusing Sheriff Israel of “many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the sheriff, failure to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff and the lack of leadership that has crushed morale throughout the agency.”
Israel’s stock skyrocketed in the initial aftermath of the shooting, highlighted by his appearance at CNN’s town hall with students and family from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, yet as more information became public about his department’s response, a clear pattern of at-the-least negligence on his part became clear.
The sheriff has resisted calls from nearly 100 Florida lawmakers to resign, and he refused to participate in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the shooting and the suspicious events surrounding the incident in March.
“He declined,” Chairman Chuck Grassley flatly said of Israel’s decision not to attend. “I’ve seen that sheriff all over television discussing the shooting, so it’s disappointing that he has refused to speak to the country through his testimony before this committee.”
What does Sheriff Israel have to hide?
According to his staff, Sheriff Israel has a major credibility problem and he must be removed from office. The cover-up of Deputy Jason Fitzsimon’s death was never going to be accepted by the rank and file within his department.
Deputy Fitzsimons wasn’t just any law enforcement officer. Unlike many of his peers, he took to social media to question the potential agenda behind the February 14 Marjory Stoneman High School mass shooting, suggesting that the event was being used to promote the Democratic Party’s gun control platform in anticipation of the 2018 midterm elections. And recent personnel decisions involving public officials indicate (e.g. here and here), an unwritten law of taxpayer-funded institutions is that employees disavow and steer clear of “conspiracy theories” that may call their superiors motives into question.
One post found on Fitzsimon’s Facebook page depicts the Parkland massacre’s main spokesperson, David Hogg, in National Socialist regalia, with the caption, “We will March Until We Disarm Every American.”
Fitzsimons Facebook page has since been “scrubbed” of any 2018 posts, which would of course include those that may be calling the the Parkland shooting or its aftermath into question.
The circumstances surrounding Deputy Fitzsimon’s death are sketchy. The official cause has been attributed to cancer, yet this is contradicted by an obituary found at obittree.com, stating that he “died unexpectedly.” The “died unexpectedly” phrase is one morticians and/or loved ones sometimes employ when for one reason or another they are reluctant to disclose the true cause of death, as in the case of a suicide.
Those who received word via Twitter of Fitzsimon’s untimely death have expressed similar doubt and suspicion on the vague and unusual circumstances.
As is suggested in the aftermath of other recent mass shooting events, Fitzsimons simply may have possessed too much information, was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and/or asking sensitive questions of his peers and superiors on the specifics of the Parkland shooting.
It is beyond dispute that the sheriff’s deputy had become uncomfortably outspoken on the February 14 event.
The record reflects that Deputy Fitzsimons was a wonderful individual and friend who cared about “truth” and the US Constitution. Perhaps these concerns are no longer desired by the management of certain policing agencies. There is indeed ample room for suspicion and now Sheriff Israel must face the music.