Three media outlets are suing the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) for surveillance camera footage that may help explain why several deputies did not enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the deadly gun massacre there, as multiple reports have claimed.
The Miami Herald reports that it is being joined by the Sun-Sentinel and CNN in a lawsuit to obtain external video footage from the February 14 massacre, after the media outlets requested copies of the footage and were denied.
The School Board of Broward County, which is also named in the suit, reportedly claimed that it handed over the footage to the sheriff office, and the BSO has said it will not be releasing it. The complaint reportedly argues that state law requires the school board to retain the surveillance recordings on a server.
In a press conference last week, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that the department “may never” release the surveillance footage, depending on how the case proceeds. The BSO has reportedly claimed that the video is exempt from public records law because of the active investigation and because the footage may reveal security protocol at the school.
But the lawsuit claims the footage is a matter of “extreme public interest.”
“First, there is a strong public interest in having the public — and more specifically Florida citizens — fully evaluate how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this terrible tragedy. Even Sheriff Israel has conceded that this is information the public needs to know,” the lawsuit reads.
“Disclosing this video footage from exterior cameras (not the interior where the shooting occurred), lies at the core of understanding exactly how events unfolded and will provide critical insight into the propriety of the government’s response.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, sources told Fox News that the BSO directed deputies not to enter the school building without turning their body cameras on, but the deputies did not have body cameras. A Fox News report also claims that EMT responders were told not to enter the school building, and that victims were treated outside.
[Feature image: Associated Press]