A Florida sheriff’s sergeant was terminated from his position when he sat in a parked car during the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Now, this same officer, Brian Miller, will get his job back plus back pay, according to the union that represents deputies.
The Associated Press reports that the arbitrator dismissed the case against Miller after finding that his due process rights were violated when Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony fired him. Miller was raking in $137,000 a year in 2018.
That year, a former student killed 17 people and injured 17 others when he came in the Parkland, Florida school on Valentine’s Day with an assault-style rifle. He’s now awaiting a Broward County trial.
When the shooting occurred, the deputy assigned to the high school, Scot Peterson, took cover while the gunman was inside the building shooting students, according to an investigation. Peterson was eventually fired and charged with multiple counts of child neglect.
The incident brought to light widespread failures at the sheriff’s office and it eventually led to Sheriff Scott Israel being ousted.
Isreal was replaced by Tony under Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Not only did Tony fire Miller, but he also fired deputies Joshua Stambaugh and Edward Eason.
Miller was the first supervisor to arrive at the shooting, and he came just in time to hear three or four shots, according to records. A state commission enlisted to investigate the shooting found that Miller took his time putting on a bulletproof vest and he hid behind his car.
“Miller failed to coordinate or direct deputies’ actions and did not direct or coordinate an immediate response into the school,” a report from the commission explained.
The fact that Miller got his job back is another example of how police unions fervently protect officers even when they’re not doing their job. This is even more so the case in officer-involved shootings, where a Black person is killed, or instances of police brutality.
Race can still play a factor within the force as well, considering people like former officer Cariol Horne, a Black woman, was fired without pension for stopping her partner, a white man, from brutalizing a suspect. Over ten years after being terminated in 2018, she is still struggling financially. Meanwhile, the cop who was attacking the suspect was arrested and sent to prison for another beating. Yet when he’s released, he’ll still have his pension.