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Parkland school resource officer decried as coward gets princely pension of $8,702 a month

The former school resource officer criticized for his response to the Parkland school massacre is receiving more than...

Posted: May 17, 2018 9:29 AM
Updated: May 17, 2018 9:29 AM

The former school resource officer criticized for his response to the Parkland school massacre is receiving more than $8,700 a month in state pension, Florida Department of Management Services spokeswoman Nina Ashley said Wednesday.

There are no charges or circumstances that would affect Scot Peterson's pension, according to a March 28 department letter requesting local officials submit information pertaining to Peterson's retirement benefits. However, two investigations into the police response to the February 14 shooting remain ongoing.

In the days after the massacre that left 17 students and staff members dead, Peterson came under fire for what some described as inaction once bullets began to fly through the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Senior Brandon Huff claimed he saw Peterson standing outside behind a stairwell wall, gun drawn "just pointing it at the building" as shots erupted from inside the school.

"He's wearing a bulletproof vest ... while school security guards, coaches pretty much, were running in shielding kids," he said.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told CNN that video from outside the school corroborated Huff's account. The sheriff said he was disgusted and demoralized by what he saw, while President Donald Trump called Peterson a coward, and said he "didn't have the courage" to confront the shooter and "doesn't love the children."

Peterson responded, saying through his attorney that he thought the shots emanated from outside of the school, near the football field, and he responded in accordance with his training.

"The allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue," a statement from his lawyer said.

Personnel records indicated Peterson had stellar reviews before the shooting.

Peterson was initially suspended without pay, though Israel said he was eyeing Peterson's termination, and the school resource officer resigned shortly thereafter.

In March, it was revealed that despite Peterson's claims, he actually called in a report that he heard gunshots "by, inside the 1200 building," according to dispatch audio of the incident. He also said some students believed they'd heard firecrackers by the football field.

Surveillance video from the school showed Peterson positioned outside of the school, but didn't offer much else in the way of details regarding his actions as confessed gunman Nikolas Cruz shot people inside.

About 18 months before the shooting, Peterson attempted to have Cruz involuntarily committed over mental health concerns. Two guidance counselors concurred with Peterson, but two mental health professionals nixed the prospect, saying the teen didn't meet the criteria for involuntary committal.

The father of Meadow Pollack, one of the students who was killed, has included Peterson in a wrongful death lawsuit filed last month.

Tweeting a news story about Peterson's pension, Andrew Pollack wrote that the money should go toward school security.

"He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered! How in the hell is he getting this?" he tweeted.

Fred Guttenburg, whose daughter, Jaime, was killed at the school, tweeted his disgust with the news, saying, "This infuriates me in ways people cannot comprehend. My daughter would still be alive if this person did his job."

Because Michael Satz, state attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit, which includes Broward County, declined to file charges against Peterson, there is no reason to deny Peterson his benefits, said Ashley, the Florida Department of Management Services spokeswoman.

In a March letter to Satz and Israel, Erin Rock, the secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services, wrote that there were neither charges nor circumstances that "would authorize the division to withhold pension benefits from Peterson."

Peterson remains the subject of a Broward Sheriff's Office internal affairs investigation, which Israel requested the week after the shooting. Gov. Rick Scott has also requested a state investigation into the law enforcement response to the shooting.

"The department will continue to monitor the ongoing investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and will continue to follow the law," Ashley said.

The former deputy received his first monthly check of $8,702.35 in April, she said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
Bolivar237883
Oktibbeha237760
Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
Pearl River142967
Prentiss139526
Grenada136344
Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
Covington117234
Winston115824
Wayne115722
Hancock114137
Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
Newton102829
Chickasaw102332
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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