Panel finds probable cause to revoke sheriff’s certification

Jun 21, 2022, 12:57 PM | Updated: 1:40 pm

A state panel found probable cause Tuesday to revoke the law enforcement accreditation of a South Florida sheriff appointed after the Parkland school shooting, after investigators found he lied repeatedly about killing another teenager almost 30 years ago.

The decision by the three-member Criminal Justice & Standards Training Commission means an administrative complaint will be filed against Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony. It would be unusual for a sitting sheriff to have accreditation revoked, but the accreditation is not necessary for the elected, administrative position.

Gov. Ron DeSantis fired the previous county sheriff, Scott Israel, days after becoming governor, over accusations that Israel had mishandled the response to the massacre, and then appointed Tony as interim sheriff. Tony was elected to a full four-year term in 2020.

Before the 2020 election, the Florida Bulldog website reported that in 1993, when Tony was 14, he fatally shot an 18-year-old neighbor during a fight at his family’s Philadelphia home using his father’s gun. He was charged with murder, but was acquitted in juvenile court after arguing he acted in self-defense. Tony never disclosed the shooting during his career, even when required, saying he did not see the need because of his acquittal.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation. In its 20-page report issued Jan. 31, the agency said Tony repeatedly lied about the shooting. He also lied when asked about whether his driver’s license had ever been suspended and whether he had ever used hallucinogenic drugs.

Tony was hired by the Coral Springs Police Department in 2005. He resigned in 2016 to run a police consulting business, the job he held when DeSantis appointed him sheriff.

The day after FDLE’s report was released, DeSantis said he was going to review the findings.

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Panel finds probable cause to revoke sheriff’s certification