29 June 23
Scot Peterson Acquittal:
Former Broward County Deputy, Scot Peterson, was arrested following an investigation into the mass shooting incident of 18 Feb 2018 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Fifteen students and staff were murdered in the incident, all by a single perpetrator. The suspect was arrested without incident a short time later. He was subsequently convicted and is currently incarcerated, having been sentenced to life imprisonment.
After a fifteen-month inquiry into Deputy Peterson’s actions (more correctly, “inactions”) at the scene, investigators concluded that Peterson, who was among the first LEOs to arrive, was derelict in his duty to protect the innocent, taking no action, in fact running away and hiding!
Between then and now, Peterson quietly “retired” from his job at the SO, where he never should have been hired in the first place!
However, local prosecutors, not satisfied with Peterson merely losing his job, elected to charge him criminally with multiple counts of, of all things, “child neglect!”
Today, as expected, a Broward County jury threw it all out!
The jury confirmed what we all know to be true:
No elected body can legislate “moral courage,” nor legally require it of any citizen, including police officers.
Members of our armed forces can indeed be court-martialed for “cowardice in the face of the enemy,” but we don’t have “military police” in this country, where members of our armed forces perform domestic policing duties. Instead, we hire civilian police officers, who are endowed with certain arrest powers, but are otherwise still “civilians.”
As such, “cowardice” may (probably should) get an LEO fired, or otherwise disciplined, by the department who hired him, but “cowardice” is not a “crime” for which any civilian can be prosecuted.
Unlike soldiers, civilians (including police officers) have no legal “duty” to protect anyone in any particular circumstance, nor come to anyone’s aid!
No civilian (including police officers) is legally obligated to “step forward” and take any kind of helpful action (forceful or otherwise) in any circumstance in which he was not otherwise involved.
When personally involved in a traffic accident, for example, civilians are nebulously required to “render aid,” (as possible) to the injured, so long as it can be done safely. Other civilians, not involved, have no legal obligation to “render aid” to anyone!
When, as a civilian, you are wondering if you should voluntarily step forward and come to an other person’s aid/defense (assuming upon yourself all inherent risks), that will have to be the result of a conversation between you and your own conscience!
In such a circumstance, the state demands nothing of you!
Of course, LEOs are expected to go forth and render the kinds of protective actions we’ve come to expect from them, as part and parcel of the job they signed-up for, but the “obligation” is not legally binding.
When shown to be incompetent, indolent, cowardly, and/or otherwise deficient, LEOs can be fired, but can’t be charged criminally, as this FL jury, once again, just confirmed!
Prosecutors with political agendas are forever trying to “invent” new crimes. That’s why we have juries, and Supreme Courts!