• Search

Jury Selection Starts For First-Ever Cop Charged With Failing To Act During School Shooting

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Jury selection began on Wednesday in the trial of the former school resource officer who hid rather than rushing to try and stop the mass shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Surveillance videos of the scene in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018, showed now-former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson remained outside the three-story classroom building, and took cover behind a concrete column, during the former student’s six-minute shooting spree, the Associated Press reported.

Peterson, now 60, is facing seven counts of felony child neglect for four of the students who were killed and three who were wounded on the third floor of the building when he failed to try to save them.

Video showed that Deputy Peterson arrived at the building with his gun drawn 73 seconds before the school shooter got to the third floor, the Associated Press reported.

However, instead of rushing toward the sound of gunfire, video showed that Deputy Person backed away with his weapon drawn.

The former veteran law enforcement officer has claimed there was an echo between the buildings and he couldn’t tell where the sound of gunfire was coming from, the Associated Press reported.

The video showed Peterson taking cover 75 feet away from the building in the alcove of another building.

The former school resource officer has claimed he only heard two or three shots after he arrived at the building, but prosecutors said the gunman fired 70 more shots over a four-minute period while the deputy was hiding outside, the Associated Press reported.

Attorneys for Peterson have asked the judge to let the jury visit the scene to experience the same thing the now-former deputy did on that terrifying day five years ago.

Peterson is also facing three counts of misdemeanor culpable negligence for the adults who were shot on the third floor, including a teacher and an adult student who died, the Associated Press reported.

The former school resource officer has also been charged with perjury for allegedly lying to investigators after the incident.

If convicted on all of the charges, Peterson is facing nearly 100 years in prison, the Associated Press reported.

The former deputy would also lose his $104,000 annual pension if he is found guilty.

Prosecutors have not charged Peterson in connection with the 11 victims fatally shot, and 13 who were wounded, on the first floor because he hadn’t yet arrived at the building, the Associated Press reported.

There were no victims on the second floor of the building.

Peterson is the first U.S. law enforcement officer who has been charged with failing to act during a school shooting, the Associated Press reported.

Texas authorities have been investigating the actions of the officers who responded to the Uvalde school massacre that left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead a year ago.

Video showed officers waited an hour before trying to neutralize the gunman while children and teachers were bleeding to death trapped inside classrooms.

However, no first responders have been charged thus far in connection with that school shooting, the Associated Press reported.

Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow Pollack was the adult student murdered on the third floor, said Peterson “is just a coward.”

“He wouldn’t have gone in with full body armor and a bazooka,” Pollack said.

Family members of other victims have expressed the same opinion, the Associated Press reported.

Peterson has denied accusations that he hid and claimed that he thought the shots he was hearing at the time were coming from a sniper shooting from nearby trees.

The 32-year veteran of the Broward Sheriff’s Office had worked at that high school for nine years at the time of the massacre, the Associated Press reported.

He told reporters he was ready for trial.

“I want the truth to come out, and if it is going to be through a trial, so be it,” Peterson said. “Not only the people in Florida, the country, most importantly the families, they need to know the truth about what happened, because unfortunately it has never been told.”

Peterson retired shortly after the Parkland massacre and was later retroactively fired, the Associated Press reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."