[Video] Former Parkland School Officer Scot Peterson Cries When Found Not Guilty
On day four of deliberation, a Florida jury found former Parkland school resource officer Scot Peterson not guilty on all counts for his inaction during the Parkland School shooting. Fourteen students and three staff members died during the shooting by Nikolas Cruz.
Peterson faced seven counts of felony child neglect and was the first law enforcement officer in the U.S. to face criminal charges for his inaction during an active shooter incident.
He was also charged with three counts of misdemeanor culpable negligence concerning the adults shot in the building and perjury for allegedly lying to detectives.
If convicted of the child neglect charges, Peterson would have faced prison time and a loss of his $104,000 annual pension.
As the verdict was announced, Peterson was seen breaking down in tears.
During the trial, students, a sheriff’s deputy, and teachers testified and were asked where they thought the initial shots were coming from during the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Kristen Gomes, an assistant state attorney for Broward County, said during closing arguments on Monday,
“Every student and every teacher on the third floor was still alive,” “And Scot Peterson chose to run,” Gomes said.
In response, Peterson’s attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, said that his client couldn’t determine where the shots came from; it was unclear whether several shooters were present. He said that Peterson responded by issuing a school-wide “code red.”
Ex-deputy Scot Peterson found not guilty of all charges in Parkland mass shooting – South Florida Sun Sentinel
“I got my life back after 4½ years,” a relieved Peterson said outside the courtroom.
Yeah, but what about the kids you failed to protect? https://t.co/aNtpqylRA7
— Rik (@RikIronjaw) June 29, 2023
🤬Total BS. THIS COWARD found NOT GUILTY OF NEGLECT and NEGLIGENCE.
Scot Peterson, who hid during 2018 Parkland school shooting, found not guilty of neglect and negligence https://t.co/CA6i50eREr via @nypost
— ☀⛱🌻Just me👀🍊Cassie🌺🦋🌺 (@browneyegirl400) June 29, 2023
Following Peterson’s acquittal on all charges, Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said, “To those who have tried to make this political, I say: It is not political to expect someone to do their job.”
“As parents, we have an expectation that armed school resource officers – who are under contract to be caregivers to our children – will do their jobs when we entrust our children to them and the schools they guard. They have a special role and responsibilities that exceed the role and responsibilities of a police officer,” Pryor said.
Hunter Pollack, whose sister Meadow was also killed in the shooting, told Fox News Digital that the verdict is “disappointing, but it’s not shocking to me.”
“We learned from the Cruz verdict that this verdict could go either way. But although there wasn’t justice in the courtroom today, the public will forever remember Scot Peterson as the coward who hid outside the 1200 building behind the concrete pillar, as the students he had a duty to protect were being murdered,” Pollack said. “Scot Peterson will forever have to live with the decision of not going in that building and saving those kids. You heard in the courtroom that Scot Peterson could have confronted the shooter before people on the third floor were being killed, and Meadow was on the third floor.”
“So Scot Peterson has to live with the decision that he could have saved lives, and he coward out, and between the public humiliation and the fact he has to live with the decision he made is a punishment in my eyes,” he said.
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