Caesars Non-August


I should have known. The first time I saw Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on TV, he was wearing four gold stars on each side of his collar. The highest rank that anyone can hope to achieve in the US Army is the rank of four-star general. It is difficult — no, ridiculous — to equate a four-star general with an elected cop in a county in Florida. I should have known that a person who would parade around that way would have lots more blustering incompetence to show us.

And he did. Not caring — or perhaps not even caring to know — that his guys had scores of contacts with the lunatic who killed 17 students in a Broward County school, and yet did nothing about those contacts, thereby allowing said lunatic to purchase guns and pursue whatever evil purpose he might find, Sheriff Israel leapt onto the TV screen to insist that more power be given to governmental agencies such as his own, to deal with citizens who want to own guns.

It is difficult — no, ridiculous — to equate a four-star general with an elected cop in a county in Florida.

When it became known that, during the massacre, one of Israel’s armed minions had declined to attack the lunatic, allowing him not only to continue killing people but to walk away from the scene and refresh himself at two fast-food joints, the sheriff self-righteously denounced the cop — while deflecting accusations that three or more other cops had done the same. Israel highhandedly refused to release the videotapes of the event — because the release “would expose the district’s security-system plan.” There was a plan?

Sheriff Israel responded to criticism by modestly observing that he had “given amazing leadership” as sheriff and by reciting nonsensical rhymes:

Listen, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books.

Two years ago, Israel responded to accusations of political corruption by saying, “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.” He’s the lion, you understand.

I should have known that a person who would parade around that way would have lots more blustering incompetence to show us.

The Florida State Attorney’s office had already started more than 40 investigations of Israel’s little troupe of Scouts. Then there is the case of Jermaine McBean. Sarah Carter summarizes it in this way:

While Israel is battling allegations that his office failed to appropriately respond to the Cruz shooting, he is also fighting a civil court case brought by the family of Jermaine McBean, an African-American information technology engineer. McBean was killed in 2013 by Israel’s deputies after they responded to a call that McBean was walking in his neighborhood with what appeared to be a weapon. It was an unloaded air rifle.

McBean was shot by one of the three cops who accosted him, a man who “feared for his life” because of the “gun” that McBean was carrying on his shoulder.

You can see the history of the case in Carter’s article. You can make your own judgment. But here’s the most sickening part, to me:

Three months after the shooting, Israel awarded two of the deputies [involved in the McBean affair] the BSO’s prestigious “Gold Cross Award.” But under mounting criticism he later told reporters the deputies should not have received the awards, adding that he didn’t award the deputies but couldn’t investigate the matter because someone accidentally destroyed the paperwork.

If you want to see how people look when they’re giving and getting awards of this kind, go here. It’s not a pretty picture. The 2015 report just cited notes that “while the investigation has dragged on for more than two years, the decision to give the officers awards was swift.”

He’s the lion, you understand.

I am not at all sympathetic to Black Lives Matter, and I happen to think that many anti-police accusations are phony, transparently phony, and villainous. Others turn out to be mistaken. But there are plenty that don’t turn out that way, and if the 17 deaths in Broward County — make it 18, counting Jermaine McBean — can possibly result in any good, it will be the continuing exposure of the preening little dictators who stand at the heads of so many well-funded agencies of the police state that is the enforcement arm of the welfare state.

Oh, you’ll be happy to know that the FBI (remember them, and their record of efficiency and impartial justice) is investigating the McBean case — at least as reported a mere two and a half years ago.

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Scott Robinson

Dear Stephen,

Good article pointing out the police not protecting and serving the sitting ducks in the school. I think that the SRO, Scott Peterson, should be punished for dereliction of duty. Don't forget, Ceasar, General Israel, was great at instituting Promise Program to reduce the school to prison road in Broward County. Quoting his candy and nuts quote was good. I still don't understand what that was supposed to mean, other than don't hold me to an if and but examination to try and figure out how my police performed.

Power to the People,
Scott Robinson

Nathan Barton

Great points.
I should point out that (sadly) it is very common in the Fifty States for Sheriffs to use four stars (silver or gold) as their insignia, with the Undersheriff (or Chief Deputy Sheriff) having three stars. This arrogance might be "explained" by stating that a US Army four-star has a minimum command (as a commander, not staff) of an Army - two corps of two divisions plus corps and army troops - or about 80,000-100,000 troops. Therefore, since the Sheriff is the chief "armed" elected official of the county and "commands" every inhabitant of that county, if the county has a population of 80,000 or more, the "rank" is justified!
The old traditional five- or six-pointed star (usually with a circle around it for the sheriff and without a circle for their deputies) is so passé, after all.
Many departments use a colonel's eagle (often in gold, not silver) as the rank insignia for their sheriffs; which to me is still arrogant and not appropriate: a colonel commands 2,000 to 5,000 troops - how many SO's have those numbers?
Like all elected positions, there should at least be a recall procedure, if not a way of impeaching the person either by the county council or commission or some other means. It seems excessive to have to require state government - the AG or even the legislature - get involved to get rid of arrogant, incompetent, corrupt, venal, and just plain stupid officials like this.
Does he not resemble the traditional "Sheriff of Nottingham" of the Robin Hood tales?

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