The attorney for the the Broward County School Resource Officer who failed to fight back after a gunman initiated an assault on a Florida high school is claiming the accusations of cowardice are “uncalled for.”
Attorney Joseph A. DiRuzzo, who represents Deputy Scot Peterson, claims his client is suffering from “uncalled for attacks upon his character.”
“Sheriff Israel held a press conference a mere eight days after the tragedy and accused Mr. Peterson of failing to respond appropriately, with the clear implication that Mr. Peterson was responsible for failing to help the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” DiRuzzo said in a statement. “Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need. However, 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. Mr. Peterson is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances and that the video (together with the eye-witness testimony of those on the scene) will exonerate him of any sub-par performance.”
Peterson was essentially thrown under the bus by both Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and several politicians and pundits, who each said -in their own respective ways- that Peterson could have done better.
According to NBC Miami, Peterson’s attorney said his client believed the gunfire was coming from outside the building, and that his response to that kind of threat was in line with the department’s training.
“BSO trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes to other law enforcement,” DiRuzzo said. “Consistent with his training, Mr. Peterson ‘took up a tactical position between the 700-800 buildings corridor/corner.'”
“Mr. Peterson had the presence of mind to have the school administrators go to the school’s video room to review the closed-circuit cameras to locate the shooter and the obtain a description for law enforcement,” DiRuzzo said.
“Sheriff Israel held a press conference a mere eight days after the tragedy and accused Mr. Peterson of failing to respond appropriately, with the clear implication that Mr. Peterson was responsible for failing to help the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” DiRuzzo said on Monday.
The lawyer added that Israel “maligned” Peterson and cited the commanding official’s account as “at best, a gross oversimplification of the events that transpired.”