HOUSTON (FOX 26) - This week’s panel: Ben Streusand – conservative commentator, “Three Amigos”, KSEV Radio, Carmen Roe – Houston Attorney, Charles Blain – jpurnalist, political commentator, Keir Murray – Democratic strategist, Michelle Byington – conservative attorney, Antonio Diaz- writer, educator and radio host, discuss 2 recent sentencing cases of police officers that made the wrong call.
The first in Parkland, Florida where former Broward County Deputy Scott Peterson was charged with child neglect and negligence for failing to confront a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed.
The second case, in Minneapolis where police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after shooting and killing an unarmed woman approaching his squad car carrying a glittery cell phone. He called it a terrible accident. A jury called it third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A former Florida deputy charged with 11 criminal counts after failing to confront the gunman in the Parkland school massacre was released from jail Thursday after a judge reduced his bail and lifted some restrictions.
Scot Peterson walked out of the Broward County Jail with his attorneys after Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer set bond at $39,500, down from the initial amount of $102,000. Peterson said nothing before getting into a car that drove him away.
Scherer also eliminated a previous requirement that Peterson wear a GPS monitor. His bond is secured by $330,000 in real estate and he will be allowed to go to his home in North Carolina.
"He's going to be on standard pretrial release," the judge said.
Peterson, 56, is charged with child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury stemming from the February 2018 shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. If convicted, he faces a potential maximum prison sentence of nearly 100 years.
While out on bail, Peterson cannot possess a firearm or take any job involving children, Scherer said. Peterson, dressed in beige jail clothes, did not speak during the hearing.
His attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, said Peterson should not face the neglect and negligence charges because he was not legally a caregiver with direct responsibility for the welfare of the students.
"They are overreaching. These definitions don't apply to my client," DiRuzzo told reporters after the hearing.
Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said case law supports the charges.
"The definition of caregiver is very broad," Donnelly said.
The charges stem from Peterson's decision to remain outside a school building - where he was the assigned resource officer - on Valentine's Day last year when police say defendant Nikolas Cruz, 20, fired 140 rounds from an AR-15 rifle. Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted of the killings. His attorneys have said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence.
DiRuzzo said Peterson was abruptly arrested without warning earlier this week after an internal affairs "name-clearing" hearing at the Broward Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Gregory Tony said Peterson was fired after that hearing, even though he had previously announced his retirement.
"We expect that he will be treated fairly and appropriately on a going-forward basis and we look to defending against these charges," DiRuzzo said.
Scherer is also the presiding judge in the Cruz case, which is expected to go to trial early next year.
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A jury found former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.