A judge in Florida ruled that two Broward County deputies who were fired for inaction during the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland must be reinstated with back pay.
The ruling by Broward Circuit Judge Keathan Frink upholds decisions made last year by arbitrators who determined that the firings were unlawful because officials took long to punish the two deputies.
Under Florida law, officials have 180 days after the competition of an investigation to discipline officers. Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony decided to fire Joshua Stambaugh 13 days after the deadline. Brian Miller was dismissed two days after the deadline had passed.
In addition to back pay, the officers will also receive accrued sick and vacation time, plus overtime and off-duty detail pay, which they would have earned in the time since they were terminated.
The Sherrif's Office blasted the decision to reinstate the officers but did not say if they would file an appeal.
There were no victors on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when Miller and Stambaugh failed to do their jobs, and it is [the Broward Sheriff's Office's] belief that the deputies do not deserve their jobs back," the Broward Sheriff's Office's general counsel said in a statement.
"The union's claimed 'victory' fails to acknowledge that the union fought desperately to prevent the arbitrator from hearing the facts that justified the termination of these deputies, and that this 'victory' was the result of a procedural technicality, which the Sheriff's Office maintains was wrongly decided."
A third case involving the dismissal of deputy Edward Eason is still ongoing.
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