As anyone who has followed this story for the last 14 months should know, the Parkland shooting was a failure of biblical proportions. A failure on the part of school administration, a failure on the part of local law enforcement in the years before the shooting, and an even worse failure by the Broward County Sheriff’s department responding that day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
If you have some time on your hands and don’t mind raising your blood pressure, read the full report of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission here.
As the Miami Herald described it . . .
The exhaustive report offers a second-by-second account of the mass shooting, spreading blame for security breakdowns, systemic school security failures and law enforcement blunders across a wide spectrum of people and agencies, from assistant principals and sheriff’s deputies to social service providers and the FBI — some of whom were warned that Cruz was a potential security threat but took no action, the report said.
Speaking as a non-lawyer, it would seem that if ever there were a cause for civil action for dereliction of duty and failure to protect, the Parkland shooting is that case.
…brought by 15 survivors of this year’s shooting massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, rejecting their argument that authorities’ failure to prevent the shooting violated their 14th Amendment rights to due process. …
…US District Judge Beth Bloom wrote that the school and sheriff’s department had no duty under the 14th Amendment itself to protect students from Cruz, contrary to what the lawsuit contended.
Her ruling acknowledges the state has a 14th Amendment duty to protect people in its custody, such as prisoners. But courts have rejected the notion that students are in custody in this way, even with laws compelling attendance, she wrote.
Now a second group of survivors is filing suit against the district, the sheriff’s department and disgraced school resource officer Scot Peterson. You’d have to expect that this effort, filed in state court this time, would take a different legal tack, but we’ll see when it’s available.
Here’s the AP’s report
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Survivors and family members of the slain victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, had plans Wednesday to sue the school district, the sheriff’s office, a deputy and a school monitor, claiming their negligence allowed the massacre to happen.
Lawyers for the victims planned to file the lawsuits in state court in South Florida on Wednesday morning, following a news conference.
Nikolas Cruz is accused of fatally shooting 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
The 20 lawsuits name as defendants the School Board of Broward County; the Broward Sheriff’s Office; former deputy Scott Peterson, who was a school resource officer; Andrew Medina, who was a school security monitor; and Henderson Behavioral Health Clinic, a mental health facility where Cruz was treated.
The school board and the sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cruz, 20, a former Stoneman Douglas student, remains jailed, charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder. He has offered to plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table. Prosecutors have refused.