FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — State law enforcement officials will review a complaint against a Florida sheriff appointed by the governor after the 2018 Parkland high school massacre following accusations that he should have disclosed he fatally shot another teenager when he was 14 in Philadelphia.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger told the Sun Sentinel on Wednesday that the agency has received a complaint against Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony and plans to review it.
“We do not have an active investigation,” Plessinger said.
The FDLE didn’t elaborate on the complaint. If it were to open an investigation, it may have to determine whether the sheriff lied in paperwork about killing a man when he was a teenager.
Tony signed an affidavit this January, a year after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him sheriff. The notarized document is kept in his employment file. The form is meant to verify that a law enforcement officer meets the state’s qualifications. The paperwork is among the various application forms and questionnaires that Tony completed as part of his law enforcement career.
Tony told reporters over the weekend that he didn’t see the need to disclose the 1993 killing to DeSantis or on other applications during his law enforcement career because he was a juvenile and he was cleared because it was self-defense.
The shooting came to light Saturday in an article published by the Florida Bulldog website, further roiling the August Democratic primary race between Tony and the fired sheriff he replaced, Scott Israel.
DeSantis, days after he took office, fired Israel in January 2019 because of the sheriff’s office’s mishandling of the Feb. 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre that left 17 dead and replaced him with the little-known Tony. The former Coral Springs police sergeant had quit that department in 2016 to operate a consulting firm that specialized in active shooter training. The two former Republicans are the leading candidates in the primary that will likely decide the race in the heavily Democratic county.
The shooting happened at the Tony family home in the Badlands neighborhood of Philadelphia, an area known for its violence and open-air drug dealing. Tony told reporters over the weekend that the shooting happened after an argument he and his brother had with 18-year-old Hector Rodriguez, a drug dealer with a criminal record.