Following the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) spoke out about holding police accountable during school shootings.
On Thursday, DeSantis asserted that law enforcement needed to be held to high standards during times of crises, especially school shootings.
“We’re going to figure out definitively what happened with this response or non-response,” the governor said, referring to concerns about how slow Uvalde police were to respond to the shooting in Robb Elementary School which ended in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers.
DeSantis went on to compare the response in Uvalde to the response to the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I met with Parkland families. I can tell you one of things they were frustrated about was there was not an adequate effort to rescue their kids,” he recalled.
In the Parkland incident, investigators determined that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson — who was serving as the school resource officer that day — failed to confront the shooter. The investigation also revealed that several other Broward County deputies “did not urgently enter the building.”
Regarding the shooting in Uvalde, nearly 20 officers delayed entering the school as the shooter opened fire on a single classroom filled with children. While they refused to confront the shooter, the officers were instead focusing on tackling and handcuffing parents who were attempting to breach the barrier to go in and save their children.
Speaking of the Parkland incident, DeSantis said: “The shooter didn’t meet the quick resistance that he should have met. You had a lot of folks that could have been held responsible and nobody had been held responsible. So, when I came in [as Florida governor], we decided to do something about that.”
DeSantis didn’t become governor until January of 2019, which was 11 months after the Parkland shooting. Upon taking office, though, the Republican governor quickly took action to suspend Sheriff Scott Israel.
Israel was then removed from his position in October of 2019 by a vote of the Florida Senate.
“I honor the service of people who wear the uniform. Their duty is to put themselves in harm’s way. And that’s not an easy thing to do,” DeSantis said.
“You’ve got to be willing to step up. And when those times call, and they’re not easy, you have to be able to respond, particularly when you’ve got people who aren’t able to defend themselves,” he continued.
“So, what we did in Parkland was say, ‘We’re going to hold law enforcement accountable as well.’ And that’s the thing. You can have the best security in the world. But if you don’t have folks that are out there when it really counts, which very well may have happened in Texas, then it’s not going to amount as much,” DeSantis added.