Fort Lauderdale, FL – A Broward sheriff’s deputy who was fired for hiding behind his car instead of rushing into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre has just been reinstated to his original rank and awarded back pay.
Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Miller, 57, was fired by Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony in June of 2019 for “neglect of duty” after an investigation determined that he hid behind his police vehicle as a gunman murdered 17 students and staff, and wounded an additional 17 people, the Miami Herald reported.
Investigators determined Deputy Miller stayed behind his car in the school parking lot as the students were murdered inside the 1200 Building only one-hundred yards away instead of rushing in to stop the gunman, in violation of department policy.
But the former deputy challenged his termination.
Attorneys for Deputy Miller told reporters on Thursday morning at a deputies’ union press conference that they had filed a motion for summary judgement because Sheriff Tony hadn’t followed procedure and had denied the deputy due process.
The matter went to arbitration and Deputy Miller got his job back on Wednesday.
“The ruling found BSO violated Sgt. Brian Miller’s Constitutional due process rights and improperly terminated him,” the deputies’ union said in a press release on May 13.
The lawyers said they were prepared to do battle based on the merits of the case, but that didn’t turn out to be necessary after the arbiter ruled in favor of the motion for summary judgement and said Deputy Miller had been improperly terminated.
He ordered the sheriff’s department to restore Deputy Miller to his prior seniority and give him back pay, the Miami Herald reported.
Deputy Miller’s attorneys said the investigation into what happened at Parkland the day of the massacre wasn’t even completed until after the statutory 180 days the sheriff’s department had to take action against the deputy had passed.
The deputies’ union is obligated to defend their members, and has fought on behalf of Deputy Miller and three other deputies who were fired for “neglect of duty.”
Union President Jeff Bell, who was recently suspended from the sheriff’s department after he criticized Sheriff Tony, had earlier criticized former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for going after the first deputies on the scene rather than the captain who was the incident commander, the Miami Herald reported.
Sheriff Israel initially did nothing to discipline Broward Sheriff’s Captain Jan Jordan, whom he had brought over from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department when he was elected.
Capt. Jordan was harshly criticized in the wake of the school massacre for her inability or unwillingness to make decisions at a time when the school shooter was believed to still be active in the building.
But it wasn’t until after city of Parkland requested the Captain Jordan be removed as district commander that Sheriff Israel transferred the incident commander who had prohibited law enforcement and paramedics from entering the school building to try and save lives.
Capt. Jordan resigned from the Broward Sheriff’s Office in November of 2018, WTSP reported.