Continuing from my post of February 25, more emerged last week about the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The notional perp
On February 24, the SunSentinel posted a long article about Nikolas Cruz and his family. A close family friend spoke to the reporter. According to her, Roger and Lynda Cruz moved to Florida from New York before adopting Nikolas and, later, Zachary. Both men share the same mother.
Not only that, but Mrs Cruz was at the Florida hospital when Nikolas’s mother gave birth to him on September 24, 1998.
Roger Cruz had been married previously and had four children. Another family friend, Ben Aaronson, said that Roger worked in marketing and travelled a lot on business. He must have had a good job, because Aaronson described their five-bedroom, three-bath house — since sold — as ‘beautiful’. The property also had a pool and Jacuzzi in the back garden.
Aaronson said Roger was known for wearing suits and ties. He also played golf. Above all, he was a devoted father and spent a lot of spare time with his young adopted sons. Lynda stayed home and drove the boys to various sports and community activities.
Sadly, this happy, secure world did not last. One day, Nikolas, then aged 5, was in the same room as his father and saw him die of a heart attack. Roger was 67. After that, Nikolas became a problem child with a litany of diagnosed disorders. Despite a loving mother and school counselling, Nikolas went off the rails. He later physically abused his mother. The police were no strangers to the Cruz home.
As for school, he was transferred from his local middle school to Cross Creek School in nearby Pompano Beach. Cross Creek is for emotionally disturbed children. He studied there for two years. His marks were good, his behaviour terrible. Among other things, he once jumped out of the back of a moving bus.
He did not like Cross Creek because he knew it was for children who could not adapt to a normal school. He pleaded with school authorities to let him attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He transferred there halfway through his sophomore (second year) in high school.
The students remember strange things. Tyra Hemans was Cruz’s classmate:
One day, she noticed him holding his crotch during class.
“I looked close and I saw he was holding a dead bird near his genitalia,” Hemans said. “I saw some feathers and I knew it was a bird. That was disturbing. But I just looked away because it wasn’t my business.”
Hemans now wonders if he kept the bird in his lunch box. She never told a teacher – just her best friend, [Meadow] Pollack [one of the deceased].
We know the rest of the story. There’s more in the article about his time at Rocxanne Dechamps’s home, too.
The school-police policy
This change — and a similar one in neighbouring Miami-Dade County (think Trayvon Martin) — came from the Obama administration. Cashill tells us:
In July 2012, the Obama administration formalized the pressure on school districts with an executive order warning school districts to avoid “methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.” The White House focused on black students in particular and headlined the press release announcing this dubious stroke of racism “President Obama Signs New Initiative to Improve Educational Outcomes for African Americans.”
Translated, that means: stop arresting school-aged blacks — and Hispanics — because that leads to prison.
Cashill has more. Less than a year ago, Broward County defended their change in policy (emphases mine):
“We’re not compromising school safety. We’re really saving the lives of kids,” boasted Michaelle Valbrun-Pope, executive director of Student Support Initiatives for Broward County Public Schools, in August 2017.
Valbrun-Pope was referring to what an article by Jeffrey Benzing in Public Source calls the “Broward County Solution.” As Benzing relates, Broward County used to lead the state of Florida in sending students to the state’s juvenile justice system. County leaders responded with a perfectly progressive solution: “lower arrests by not making arrests.”
Authorities agreed to treat twelve different misdemeanor offenses as school-related issues, not criminal ones. The results impressed the people who initiated the program. Arrests dropped from more than a thousand in 2011-2012 to less than four hundred just four years later.
This topic interests Cashill because he followed the Trayvon Martin case in Miami-Dade. Martin’s school offences came out only in court and not beforehand. The Conservative Treehouse has more, including this explanation of Broward County school-policing policy (emphases in the original):
Broward County schools intentionally created polices from 2011 through 2015 that culminated in the 2018 mass school shooting in Parkland. We know this with great specificity because five years ago we warned Broward County Florida school board members this could happen …
Follow a simple timeline: ♦In 2011/2012 Broward County School administration made a policy decision to block the arrests of students in order to improve their education statistics. ♦In 2013 that same school board was warned what was happening as a result of that policy. ♦In 2015 the School doubled-down on the diversionary policies and allowed students to break the law, including physical violence, without legal consequence. ♦In January 2017 Nikolas Cruz criminally assaulted someone; again, law enforcement engagement was blocked by policy. ♦A year later in February 2018 Cruz killed seventeen students.
Cruz was included in this policy by virtue of his surname.
N.B.: This policy applies only to minority students.
The Last Refuge — Sundance from The Conservative Treehouse — has more in a shocking Twitter series on how this school policy works:
21. Well it didn’t take long for criminal gangs in Broward and Miami-Dade to realize the benefit of using students for their criminal activities. After all, the kids would be let go… so organized crime became easier to get away with if they enlisted high-school kids.
22. As criminals became more adept at the timing within the offices of the officials, they timed their biggest crimes to happen after the monthly maximum arrest quota was made.
23. The most serious of armed robberies etc. were timed for later in the month or quarter. The really serious crimes were timed in the latter phases of the data collection periods. This way the student criminals were almost guaranteed to get away with it.
One might ask: why not just ignore the Obama administration’s recommendations? Because complying with them brings in more federal grant money.
Follow the money.
The school resource officer (SRO)
Broward County appoints school resource officers (SROs) from the police or sheriff’s department to their schools.
Scot Peterson, 54, a deputy sheriff, was the SRO assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was one of the non-responders for the first four minutes at the start of the shooting. He was present at the school but elsewhere on campus rather than in the building. Three other deputy sheriffs were also present and inactive. Their boss is/was Sheriff Scott Israel, more about whom below.
On Thursday, February 15:
Peterson resigned, and subsequently retired, at 12:37 p.m. Thursday after he was suspended without pay earlier in the day, Israel said. An investigation into what happened will continue.
Peterson’s resignation ends a more than three-decade career with the agency, where he was often regarded by peers as a dependable employee who could communicate well with both staff and students.
The SunSentinel reported:
Sheriff Scott Israel said Deputy Scot Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.” Video footage showed Peterson did none of that, Israel said.
The sheriff’s office also said Thursday that two deputies were put under investigation for how they handled potential warnings about Cruz, including one from November in which a caller said Nikolas Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making” …
Peterson had been a school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas since 2009. He was considered a trusted officer who “values his position and takes pride in protecting the students, faculty and staff at his school,” a 2017 performance review said.
His annual salary in 2016 was $75,673.72, according to sheriff’s office records, but he made $101,013 that year with overtime and other compensation. Peterson has been the subject of two internal investigations, neither of which resulted in significant discipline.
Scot Peterson has since lawyered up. His attorney has issued a two-page statement.
The aforementioned Twitter thread from The Last Refuge has more on school police in general:
25. Understanding the risk behind the scheme, it became increasingly important to put the best corrupt cops in the schools. *BEST* as in *SMARTEST*. Those SRO’s became the ones who were best at hiding the unlawful conduct.
26. Again, over time, the most corrupt police officers within the system became the police inside the schools. These officers were those who are best skilled at identifying the political objectives and instructions.
27. Those “School Cops” also have special privileges. It’s a great gig. They get free “on campus” housing close to the schools they are assigned to etc. They’re crooked as hell and the criminal kids how just how to play them. It’s a game. Also an open secret.
On February 22, The Conservative Treehouse posted more about Broward County’s law enforcement (emphases in the original):
The lack of action by Broward County Officer Scot Peterson is not an outlier, it is the norm. His conduct and cowardly behavior reveals a larger sentiment within a heavily politicized law enforcement agency. Politics is the filter for all decision-making.
REPEAT: Politics in Broward and Dade county is the filter for ALL decision-making.
Sheriff Israel is a political operative deep inside the Democrat political machine within Broward County. He is not alone. Israel is surrounded by similarly-minded police officers and law enforcement officials. Many of them are political operatives …
Officer Scott Peterson standing outside the building while students were shot and killed is not unexpected. The roles of SRO’s are political, not law enforcement.
Here’s what people don’t understand. When the county policy is intentionally constructed to ignore criminal behavior in schools, the Sheriff and School superintendent cannot rely on “law and order-minded” SRO’s to carry out the corrupt policy.
The SRO must carry a political hat and be able to intercept behavior, modify the action based on a specific policy, falsify documents, manipulate records etc, and engage in the system with an understanding of the unwritten goals. SRO’s are given political instructions NOT, I repeat, NOT given instructions to uphold laws and regulations.
The School Officers are the primary foot soldiers carrying out political policy. Engaging an active shooter on campus is the furthest thing from their skill-set you could imagine.
On February 23, as news emerged of an astounding 27-minute tape delay of the school’s CCTV system, The Conservative Treehouse posted again about the sheriff’s office:
It is important to understand the policy here. Broward County law enforcement (Sheriff Israel), in conjunction with Broward County School Officials (Superintendent Runcie and School Board), have a standing policy to ignore any criminal engagement with High School students.
When the police are hiding current, actual and ongoing unlawful conduct as a matter of standard procedure on a regular basis, what do we expect the police would do with reports of potential unlawful conduct? Of course they would ignore them.
Not following up on tips about a potential-turned-real shooter is no accident:
This is not a “mistake” on their part, the ‘doing nothing’ is part of the standard practice.
♦ Secondly, the 27 minute tape-delay in the CCTV system is not an “accident”, “flaw” or “mistake”. It is entirely by design.
As a standard Broward and Miami-Dade practice, when school law enforcement need to cover-up or hide behavior, they need time (when that behavior happens) to delete the evidence trail. As such the school policy -as carried out in practice- is more efficient with a 30 minute tape delay affording the school officer enough time to deal with the situation, then erase the possibility of a recording of the unlawful activity surfacing.
Building in a 30 minute delay on the CCTV system was one of those pesky add-on items that happened a few years ago when the School and Law Enforcement officials established the policy of intentionally not arresting students.
Scott Israel has been known to hire political supporters. In 2016, the SunSentinel reported:
Since winning one of the most powerful elected posts in Broward, Sheriff Scott Israel has hired from the ranks of his political supporters, building a community outreach wing his critics say doubles as a re-election team.
The supporters receive public funds to go out into the community, including to political meetings, touting the agency’s successes under Israel, and getting feedback. Some of the same employees campaign for the sheriff at the polls. Broward Sheriff’s Office officials said they’re doing so on their free time.
Israel was first elected as sheriff in 2012:
Israel’s hiring practices have been criticized by his political foes since his 2012 election, but the controversy has moved to the forefront this year as he runs for re-election. He faces three fellow Democrats in the Aug. 30 primary; the winner faces a Republican in November.
A log of employees hired by the sheriff shows 10 workers were hired since 2013 into “outreach” roles, their salaries totalling $634,479. The unit is embedded into a $2.4 million community services division. When the budget year closes out in October, the outreach team expects to have made contact with 320,000 people, budget documents say.
After the shooting, the SunSentinel published a good profile of Scott Israel. Ironically, his political policing policies resulted in the death of his sons’ former football coach:
The sheriff now lives in Davie but previously resided in Parkland with his wife, Susan. He is the father of triplets, Brett, Blake and Blair, who all attended Stoneman Douglas. Brett was once the starting quarterback for the school’s football team, even playing under slain assistant football coach Aaron Feis, as did his brothers. Blake, who now attends Palm Beach Atlantic University, was a midfielder in lacrosse at Stoneman. Israel, 61, also coached football at Stoneman Douglas and North Broward Preparatory Academy, and has been the head coach of the Coral Springs Chargers Tackle Football Team. In 2008, he won a Brian Piccolo Coach of the Year award.
In closing, Scott Israel put his photo on Broward County sheriff’s department cars. That must have cost a pretty penny.
At the weekend, someone from Rebel Media drove around Broward County in a truck with a photo of Israel and the words:
He ignored dozens of warnings about the Parkland killer.
He ignored those warnings because it was politically expedient and enriching so to do.
Trump-related news will resume in my next post.