Parkland students, gun-owners debate issues

Parkland students who are on a grassroots tour across America to talk about gun safety recorded a tense conversation with counter-protesters.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 1:01 PM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 1:33 PM

Parkland, Florida, parents and students filed suit Wednesday against Broward County, the sheriff, his deputies and the school superintendent in connection with the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Two students and 13 minor students' mothers are plaintiffs in the case, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, to be determined by a jury.

Yet while attorney Solomon Radner focused on the shooting during a Wednesday news conference, four of the five counts in the lawsuit deal with an incident in which embattled ex-school resource officer Scot Peterson questioned, searched and seized money from a student he suspected of selling drugs.

The seizure occurred on Valentine's Day, hours before the shooting, but that and Peterson's involvement are the only apparent connections to the shooting.

Read the lawsuit for yourself

The rest of the suit alleges Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel failed to protect students and claims Peterson and five other deputies' inaction or poor training led to more students being traumatized, injured or killed.

Three of the deputies are identified as John Does one, two and three, and Radner said they were armed, trained and on campus when the shooting began.

"The law enforcement choked that day," Radner said during a news conference. "They caused people to die, and they will have to face the music."

CNN's phone call and emails seeking comment from the county attorney's office were not immediately returned.

Peterson

Many of the allegations in the suit target Peterson, who has been decried as a coward for his response when the shooting erupted. He has said he followed procedure and was unsure from where the gunshots emanated.

The lawsuit claims Peterson was known in law enforcement circles as "Rod" -- meaning retired on duty -- because of his "lackadaisical" approach to his job.

Peterson: 'Those were my kids'

"His job duties required him to run towards danger at risk of life and limb, and not to run away from danger for the sole purpose of [self-preservation]. His arbitrary and conscience-shocking actions and inactions directly and predictably caused children to die, get injured and get traumatized," the lawsuit says.

Peterson and the three John Does stood outside the school while kids were being gunned down inside, according to the lawsuit. It also says that two Coral Springs policemen rushed past the deputies, "who were hiding to keep themselves safe at the expense of the safety of the students," and were told the shooter was on the third floor.

The lawsuit alleges this indicates Peterson knew where the shooter was, contrary to his statements.

Andrew Medina

Another school guard, Andrew Medina, is accused of failing to stop or engage the shooter, despite the gunman being previously identified as a "recognized threat."

"Specifically, he failed to stop shooter, question him, or lock down the school, even though he saw shooter walk past him and he recognized shooter to be a known danger to the school," the lawsuit says. "He instead radioed ahead to warn fellow monitor David Taylor that a suspicious kid was headed his way."

Medina also failed to call in a code to prompt the school's lockdown, which would have made it difficult for the gunman to kill as many people as he did, the lawsuit claims.

"Medina claimed he was ordered to not call a code unless he actually saw a gun," according to one of the sections of the lawsuit that questions the training of officers involved in the response. "Medina did, however, have enough time to text other security officers about who the suspicious person was -- again instead of approaching shooter or calling a code."

Capt. Jan Jordan

The law enforcement officer in charge of the shooting scene was Jordan, the lawsuit says, accusing her of failing to set up a command post and preventing other emergency responders from entering the school.

Coral Springs Deputy Fire Chief Michael McNally asked Jordan six times if he could send his medics into the school and was rebuffed each time, even after certain rooms had been searched and deemed safe, the lawsuit says.

A Margate police officer and SWAT operator later decided to enter the school after informing Jordan there was no time to wait, according to the lawsuit.

"The Broward County Sheriff's Office policy on active shooters indicates responding deputies may enter the building to preserve life without permission," the lawsuit says. "The policy does not list staging yet Jordan chose to stage, in violation of policy, due either to her grossly inadequate training or her deliberate indifference."

Runcie and Israel

According to the lawsuit, Superintendent Runcie had been warned that school safety was "not up to par," particularly in regard to preventing school shootings, but failed to take measures to prevent such an incident.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Israel's office received "many dozens" of calls between 2008 and 2017 about the gunman, including two 2017 calls warning the gunman had posted threatening messages on social media, was collecting weapons and could be "a school shooter in the making," the suit says.

Israel and Runcie are accused of either providing inadequate training or maintaining "a policy that allows killers to walk through a school killing people without being stopped."

The seizure

Four of the five counts outlined in the suit deal with an incident that occurred before the shooting. Three of the counts are alleged Fourth Amendment violations: unlawful detention, search and seizure of money.

The morning of the shooting, the lawsuit says, a student identified only as T.M. was pulled out of weight-training class and taken to the office, where Peterson searched him and took $200 from his backpack. Peterson accused the teen of selling drugs, but T.M. told Peterson the money was for an after-school Valentine's Day dinner with his girlfriend.

Peterson called the teen's mother, Crystal Lugo, who backed her son's story, according to the lawsuit, but Peterson accused her of lying to protect her son.

"Peterson asserted that T.M. is not manly enough to own up to what he did and that he doesn't like students like T.M. because they look good on paper but are actually really bad kids," the lawsuit alleges.

T.M. got his money back but was sent to in-school suspension for having late passes in his bag, against school policy, the lawsuit says.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 352891

Reported Deaths: 7597
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24704451
DeSoto23619283
Harrison21395335
Jackson15984255
Rankin15957294
Madison11224227
Lee10952180
Jones9316171
Forrest9136163
Lauderdale8211244
Lamar736590
Lowndes7253152
Lafayette6658125
Washington5681140
Pearl River5396155
Oktibbeha506598
Bolivar5022134
Warren4828128
Panola4823112
Marshall4759106
Pontotoc455773
Neshoba4487181
Hancock444488
Union441479
Monroe4390138
Lincoln4247116
Pike3771114
Leflore3696125
Alcorn362474
Tate356188
Sunflower351794
Adams350690
Scott349177
Yazoo344877
Copiah333569
Simpson329191
Itawamba318581
Tippah316569
Coahoma316385
Covington305584
Prentiss304163
Leake291976
Marion291882
George285851
Wayne282345
Grenada272488
Newton269264
Tishomingo241670
Stone240038
Winston238484
Jasper236248
Attala229974
Chickasaw222760
Clay204654
Holmes204374
Clarke190480
Tallahatchie185842
Smith184936
Calhoun184632
Yalobusha174241
Walthall151249
Lawrence146426
Greene144735
Amite140144
Noxubee137635
Perry137038
Montgomery134644
Carroll127531
Webster125132
Jefferson Davis121334
Tunica116627
Benton108425
Claiborne106131
Kemper105029
Humphreys102533
Franklin88724
Quitman86819
Choctaw83619
Wilkinson79632
Jefferson72328
Sharkey52018
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 595816

Reported Deaths: 11561
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson865251591
Mobile50436872
Madison37905534
Shelby27652260
Tuscaloosa27422465
Montgomery26428628
Baldwin26175329
Lee17414181
Calhoun15549334
Morgan15265291
Etowah15106372
Marshall13248236
Houston12297294
Elmore11006220
St. Clair10903252
Limestone10867158
Cullman10643206
Lauderdale10374255
DeKalb9603193
Talladega9032188
Walker7873288
Autauga7635114
Blount7463140
Jackson7450117
Colbert6780142
Coffee6515132
Dale5803117
Covington4864125
Russell483543
Chilton4828117
Franklin465681
Tallapoosa4591156
Escambia457583
Chambers4007125
Dallas3756164
Clarke374663
Marion3490107
Pike336979
Lawrence3280100
Winston301973
Bibb293766
Geneva293083
Marengo263867
Barbour254361
Pickens247962
Butler243672
Hale236979
Fayette228565
Henry218845
Monroe206941
Randolph203844
Cherokee201748
Washington189439
Macon172252
Crenshaw171758
Clay167659
Cleburne161845
Lamar152638
Lowndes146555
Wilcox132731
Bullock126542
Conecuh123032
Coosa119729
Perry111228
Sumter110933
Greene99937
Choctaw64525
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Columbus
Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 88°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 84°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 88°
Friday will be just a little warmer in the morning due to some cloud cover in the area. We will see some isolated to widely scattered showers and thunderstorms pop up over portions of our area due to a little bit of low pressure flowing through the area.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather