The Broward County Sheriff's Office on Thursday released video of the armed school resource deputy who was criticized for his response during last month's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Sheriff Scott Israel said last month that officer Scot Peterson stood outside the building and did "nothing" while a shooter opened fire on students and teachers. After viewing the surveillance video, Israel said Peterson was placed on unpaid leave, but he subsequently filed for retirement.
A judge ordered the release of the video footage of Scot Peterson, whose lawyer has said the former officer "is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances" and that video and eyewitness testimony "will exonerate him of any sub-par performance."
"The video speaks for itself," the sheriff's office said Thursday. "His actions were enough to warrant an internal affairs investigation, as requested by Sheriff Scott Israel on Feb. 21."
"In accordance with Florida law, we are prohibited from discussing any other details of the IA investigation until the case has concluded."
Israel said last month that surveillance video showed Peterson arriving at the west end of the school's Building 12, then taking a position where he could see the entrance to the building.
"He never went in," Israel said.
When Israel was asked what he believes Peterson should have done, Israel answered: "Went in. Address the killer. Kill the killer."
The 27-minute-long surveillance video released Thursday begins at 2:22 p.m., where students can be seen walking along an outdoor high school corridor.
Just eight seconds into the video, Peterson, along with another individual, appear to be reacting to something like a radio call soon after the two men board a golf cart and ride out of the hallway.
The the remainder of the video, beginning at 2:23 p.m., is from the point of view of a single surveillance camera. A figure in the distance, presumably Peterson, can be seen behind a wall.
At 2:33 p.m., nearly 10 minutes later, other individuals, possibly police officers responding to reports of the shooting, can be seen moving to and fro from behind a wall and pillar.
At 2:45 p.m. two other individuals — it's unclear whom — can be seen walking along an outdoor hallway, eventually coming to a stop where they appear to be talking for approximately two minutes.
The individuals go back to the far end of the of the building near the pillar, from where they came, at 2:47p.m. Ten seconds before the video ends, two individuals, run from behind the wall and pillar out of frame. The video ends at 2:50 p.m.
President Trump has previously criticized Peterson's actions, saying the officer lacked courage.
"When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job. There’s no question about that," Trump told reporters last week. "That’s a case where somebody was outside, they’re trained, they didn’t act properly or under pressure or they were a coward. It was a real shock to the police department."
The president later said at a meeting with governors that he would have run into the school without a gun during the shooting.
"You don't know until you test it, but I think, I really believe I'd run in there, even if I didn't have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too," the president said.
Peterson's lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo, wrote a letter in February saying that Israel's comments were untrue and that he had omitted facts.
"Sheriff Israel’s statement is, at best, gross over-simplification of the events that transpired," the letter states, before listing 12 points outlining Peterson's version of events.
In the letter, Peterson claims that he received an emergency "call of firecrackers," not gunfire, and responded by running hundreds of yards where he "heard gunshots but believed that those gunshots were originating from outside of any of the buildings on the school campus."
The letter goes on to state that Peterson "was the first BSO officer to advise BSO dispatch that he heard shots fired" and that Peterson had initiated the lockdown of the campus.
"Mr. Peterson had the presence of mind to have the school administrators go to the school’s video room to review the closed-circuit cameras to locate the shooter and the [sic] obtain a description for law enforcement," another bullet point states.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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