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Thousands of people support students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a rally for gun control at the Florida capitol (2/21/18).The Florida legislature is poised to pass some of the most sweeping gun control and mental health reforms in more than 20 years. The moves come as lawmakers face pressure from students affected by the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.On Valentine's Day, a 19-year-old in Parkland opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 14 students, three adults, and injured 14 others. There were warning signs, yet, all, including a tip to the FBI, were missed.That day, school safety measures in place, like school resource officers, restricted access and fencing--all failed.In the wake of the shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have mobilized, calling on the legislature to take greater action to prevent school and mass shootings. Lawmakers, it seems, are finally listening.https://youtu.be/6PRPEfu7WPg

Suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel's Appeal Hearing Underway: Day 1 Recap

Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo

Suspended Broward County sheriff Scott Israel’s appeal hearing is expected to be a three-day affair. Tuesday marked day one, and saw Israel take the stand.

Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Israel from his post for incompetence and negligence in the wake of the February 2018 shooting that claimed the lives of 17 Parkland students and staff. Nicholas Primrose, the governor’s counsel, says Israel failed to properly train his deputies.

“Unlike SWAT officers, who are supposed to engage in active shooter situations and undergo training multiple times a month, Scott Israel’s deputies assigned to schools were not keeping their skills sharp on a monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or even semi-annual basis,” Primrose said.

Primrose says Broward deputies were trained on a three-year cycle. But Israel’s attorney, Ben Kuehne, is trying to prove his client wasn’t negligent or incompetent in training deputies. He calls DeSantis’ accusation against Israel political “look-back finger-pointing.”

“There is a distinct difference between neglect of duty, obligations required by law, and those set by the position of office, and whim or fancy on the part of a politician,” Kuehne said.

Kuehne questioned several Broward deputies on day one of the hearing, asking them about the agency’s training methods under Israel, among other things. When Israel ultimately took the stand in his own defense, he continued to characterize DeSantis’ motivations as political.

“You can just imagine how demoralizing it was for me and my family, to hear in March, two months – investigations hadn’t even commenced – and I hear a candidate for governor saying ‘I’ll suspend that guy.’ That’s not how America should be run,” Israel said.

Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott was Florida’s governor at the time of the Parkland shooting. Israel was asked about the former governor by his lawyer.

Kuehne: “Did governor Scott make you a political issue, at all, ever?”

Israel: “Never.”

Day two of the appeal hearing resumed at 8 a.m.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.