What’s going on?
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel seemed certain when he debated NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch in a CNN town hall last week and advocated for police officers to get more control and power to take away guns from people. But in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Israel revealed how little he knew about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida before he appeared in the town hall.
Seventeen people died when a shooter opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. As teenage survivors advocate for gun control, investigators and journalists are pointing out more and more red flags that show the shooting suspect should not have been able to keep his gun.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office is being investigated for not acting on a tip that the teenage gunman could be a “school shooter in the making.” Israel’s office reportedly received 18 calls about the shooter before the tragic incident.
The office heard about the “school shooter in the making” in advance and did nothing. As we learn about the sheriff’s department’s incompetence, we should be even more leery of handing over more control.
“He wanted more law enforcement power. That should always scare people,” Glenn said. “What are you doing with the power that you do have?”
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: All right. So I want to talk to you about the school shooting and where we go from here, but I want to do it with this in mind: If it meant — if it meant that we could stop all shootings, would you consider an infringement on your Second Amendment right? If it meant?
To me, the answer is yes. But I know the evidence shows that it doesn’t work. So no.
If you could show me real evidence that this was an outdated mode of thinking and that, you know, we had somehow or another solved the reason why you should have guns in the first place, and that is against tyranny, and you need it for self-protection, well, then you could talk me into it.
But I’ve never seen that evidence. I’ve looked for that evidence. But I’m open to hearing new evidence. Share away.
If you are on the other side and I could show you evidence that we could do a few things beside not taking away guns and it was effective, would you change your mind? Would you say, well, let’s start there.
And for both sides. If we could get to a place to where I could just say, look, you know, we want to have this gun debate, that’s fine. But this is one of the oldest debates in American history. What is a militia? So we’re not going to solve this in the next couple of weeks.
Do we all believe that more — that more shooting is coming?
I think it’s safe to say that, yes, we all know that. Okay. So what are we going to do to solve it? Well, the first thing is, what can we learn from this shooting? What can we learn from the last shooting?
We learned in the last shooting, in the church, that, A, somebody who is just a civilian with a firearm can stop the shooting. But we also learned that the Air Force was not reporting people with mental health issues or issues with guns and domestic abuse, to put them in the system.
That had to be changed. Now, what have we learned on this one? Well, I think one thing that we’ve learned is there’s something wrong with this sheriff. There’s something wrong — deeply wrong in Broward County. It’s one thing to have one guy that stays out of the building and waits while the shooting was going on. But there were four sheriff deputies.
STU: He denies that. Although, his denial has lots of — you know, qualifications to it. Which maybe we’ll hear some of that here in this interview.
STU: But I think, you know, there’s also the thing of, what do you learn from this mass shooting. And one of the things, I think, when you’re leading up to the mass shooting, is if every citizen in America has told you that one specific person is going to do a school shooting, that might be a time to understand that perhaps, that person is in danger of doing a school shooting.
STU: Maybe you should do something about that.
GLENN: When you have the number of reports and the number of altercations with this student that they did, and the sheriff’s department did nothing, that’s a problem. That’s a real problem. And that’s easy to fix. Let’s make sure that’s not happening anyplace else. Let’s discuss this. And get to the bottom of it.
Jake Tapper started unraveling this hero sheriff’s story over the weekend. And let’s start with, why was there no report when they called and said, he’s going to be a school shooter. He’s a school shooter in the making. And he has access to guns.
Why was there no report? Listen.
JAKE: Fewer than three months ago, your office received a call from a tipster explicitly saying that crews could be a, quote, school shooter in the making. According to notes released on that call, no report was even initiated.
At this point, sir, do you understand how the public, seeing red flag after red flag after red flag, warning after warning after warning, they hear that your office didn’t even initiate a report when they got a call saying that this guy could be a school shooter in the making? How could there not even be a report on this one?
VOICE: Well, if that’s accurate, Jake, there needed to be a report. And that’s what we’re looking into, that a report needed to be completed. It needed to be reported to either our Homeland Security or violent crimes unit. And they would have followed up on it.
JAKE: That’s from your notes. That’s from notes released by your office. I’m not making this up. This is from Broward.
VOICE: No, and that’s — and that’s what — the officer who handled that is on restrictive duty. And we are — that’s an active internal investigation. And we’re looking into it.
GLENN: Okay. So there’s another person under his command that has failed to do the job.
Yet, he wanted more law enforcement power. That should always scare people.
What are you doing with the power that you do have? But he’s been asking for more power.
VOICE: The whole crux of this is giving law enforcement, giving deputies, giving police officers, not only in Broward County, but in Florida and around the nation, expanded power, to be able to do something more than just write a report. That’s the whole reason I went on CNN and town hall —
VOICE: Sir, isn’t making a threat against the school a crime?
VOICE: Not if the person doesn’t have the ability to carry it out. You could say a nonspecific threat, I’m going to go to a school. It’s not a crime. If the person doesn’t have the apparent ability to carry it out, it’s not a crime.
JAKE: Well, in September 2016, the shooter indicated that he wanted to buy a gun. Deputy Peterson knew about that. He initiated the report. The school launched a threat assessment.
At this point, you have somebody saying that they’re going to shoot up a school and somebody with a gun. That’s not enough?
VOICE: That’s not enough.
GLENN: That’s not enough. Huh.
STU: And that’s just one of the incidents. Of course, there’s dozens.
GLENN: Is that true?
STU: His first answer is, do they have the ability to carry it out?
GLENN: Yes. Wait. You’re using reason.
STU: Okay. Should I calm down?
GLENN: You should calm down. Stop using reason. Let’s just jump on his side or against him, depending on what our religion tells us to do.
STU: That’s true.
GLENN: This is the problem. This is the problem.
So reason would tell you, well, let’s stop here. Let’s stop here. Is that true?
Now, we know that’s not true. We know that’s not true. There was a paper trail, very long against this kid.
So you obviously have enough power to make sure that he is not around guns, to make sure that he gets some sort of medical treatment, et cetera, et cetera. Whatever it is.
You may not be able to throw him in prison, but you certainly can restrict him, with all of the stuff that we had. So we know that’s not true.
If it was true, that should be the first thing the sheriff is asking for. Right there. Here’s specifics. I had 31, you know, complaints against this guy. Nineteen of them, we did exactly right.
Okay. We’ll get back to the others that you didn’t get right. But on those 19, I couldn’t do anything. And we knew he had a gun. We knew that he was holding it to people’s heads who he knew. That he was threatening to shoot up the school. And, “We couldn’t do anything.” We know that’s not true.
But if it is true or if it were true, that should be the first thing we work on. Don’t you think? Because there has to be other schools and other sheriffs that are facing the same thing.
I know this kid is going to go and do something, because of the 19 reports that we have. But I can’t do anything.
We should hear from those sheriffs. We should know. Let us help you protect the children.
All right. Next cut.
When did he know about Peterson? I love this one.
JAKE: When did you find out that Deputy Peterson had not gone into the building? How soon after the shooting did you know that?
VOICE: Not for days. We —
JAKE: How many days?
VOICE: Our investigators looked — I’m not sure.
JAKE: Because you spent much of the Wednesday night town hall on CNN with the entire Stoneman Douglas community, students and teachers and parents attacking the NRA, saying the police needed more powers, more money, to prevent future tragedies.
You didn’t disclose any of this to the crowd then, the stone man Douglas High School community. Did you know it then? Did you know it Wednesday night?
VOICE: It was spoken about during that — earlier, during that day. I’m not a time line for TV or any news show. We need to get it right. We need to get it accurate. We’re talking about people’s lives. We’re talking about a community. We need to corroborate. We need to verify. And once we did, the next day — and I looked at the tape, and I was 100 percent certain that it happened the way I was told about the investigators initially told about. I didn’t even release it that second.
JAKE: You didn’t look at the video — one week after the shooting, you hadn’t looked at the video yet?
VOICE: I looked at the video as soon as the investigators — it wasn’t my job to look at the video. It was investigators’ job to look at the video. I’m still sheriffing this — this — this — this county. There were many things to do. We have investigators — homicide investigators, internal affairs investigators dissecting it. And when they felt there was a video ready for my view, that I might take action on one of our deputies, I looked at the video.
STU: I mean, if you believe this guy hadn’t seen that video before that town hall in a week’s time —
GLENN: Then he needs to be dismissed as incompetent just for that.
STU: I mean, there’s tons of things that I would love to sell you.
But the other thing is, can you imagine — forget even if he saw the video. He tells you there that he knew about it going on stage.
Can you imagine the balls to go on stage on national television, and yell at Dana Loesch and say that she’s not standing up for these kids, when you know that your deputy was actually not standing up, he was crouching behind a wall, while people were being executed inside the school. Can you imagine the balls to go on television and not bring that up?
GLENN: Now, listen to this. Listen to this idea.
STU: That’s incredible.
GLENN: Let’s just fix reason firmly in her seat. And let’s use his logic. He doesn’t want to go on television. Because there’s a crowd there. It’s a community. It’s a community that’s grieving.
And he wants to make sure, you just don’t go in front of that community, in front of that crowd, unless he can verify everything and he’s 100 percent sure, that that’s what happened.
So he was 100 percent sure that the NRA caused this shooting? He’s 100 percent sure that it was the gun and not the kid?
He was 1 percent sure, even though, he had evidence presented to him, that things could have been different if — not one. But four of his deputies would have moved in. He was 100 percent sure that it was the NRA’s fault. But he wouldn’t bring anything — he wouldn’t bring anything about his group, unless he was 100 percent sure. And he just wasn’t — he wasn’t there. But he was so sure that the people who weren’t there, were at fault.
I don’t — I don’t understand that. That doesn’t seem like you’re really doing an investigation. That seems like a witch hunt.
STU: Well, and he did want to let that fact out in front of the families, in a public forum. He wanted to do it one-on-one. He wanted to make sure that was one-on-one.
GLENN: I know. I know. Well, he did the very next morning in a press conference. So he didn’t do it one-on-one.
STU: Hmm. He just put it out on a press release, talked to reporters about it.
GLENN: Yeah. Talked to reporters. But in this interview with Jake Tapper, one of the reasons why he didn’t do it was because — you just didn’t tell people like that in a crowd or just an impersonal forum, like the town hall. You needed to — you know, there was one parent that wasn’t there. And he wanted to make sure everybody was there so he could personally tell them.
STU: So all of the parents were there at a press release? That’s interesting.
GLENN: Press conference. No. No. It’s strange, isn’t it?
STU: You let that crowd attack Dana Loesch, calling her a murderer and all these other terrible things. It was mob — it was Christians and lions, as you’ve been talking about it. I mean, absolute mob.
And you knew, as you were sitting on that stage and — and making it worse by putting more blame on her and the NRA, you knew your own deputy — you were going to fire him the next day for dereliction of duty because he didn’t go in there. You, your judgment of it, his actions are so bad, and you don’t even bring that up. In fact, you make it worse. You make people go after her. You make her life be threatened. That is an incomprehensible — this guy makes it through this thing with his job, that is — I don’t even — there is absolutely no justice.
GLENN: I will tell you that during — during the town hall, during the town hall, CNN people wondered if Dana and others had security to be able to get them out. They’ve started to worry about the guest security.
Wow. Wow. Huh. I know I felt that way. But it’s strange to hear CNN might have felt that way. And yet, they continued to go.