Sheriff's deputy fired in connection with 2018 Parkland, Fla., school shooting is reinstated

Sept. 16, 2020
An arbitrator has ruled that the firing of Deputy Josh Stambaugh violated his due process rights.

A Broward County, Fla., sheriff’s deputy who was fired for taking cover behind his truck and then driving away from the 2018 Parkland school massacre should be reinstated with back-pay, an arbitrator has ruled.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Deputy Josh Stambaugh is the second fired deputy in recent months to have an arbitrator rule he should get his job back after being fired in connection with the shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony fired Josh Stambaugh on June 25, 2019, following investigations into his response during the shooting.

A total of eight deputies from the Broward Sheriff’s Office heard the shots from an AR-15 rifle and failed to enter the school and confront Nikolas Cruz as he roamed the halls shooting students and staff. Cruz killed 17 people and injured another 17.

The ruling is the second time in four months that an arbitrator has said a deputy fired over the mishandling at the school should be reinstated. The first was Sgt. Brian Miller. In both cases, the reinstatement is based on a technicality.

The technicalities could prove to be very costly to taxpayers because in both cases, the arbitrator ruled that deputies should get back pay, as well as any overtime they would have accrued.

The arbitrators ruled the Sheriff’s Office failed to fire both Miller and Stambaugh in a timely fashion, violating the deputies' due-process rights.

An arbitrator found that the sheriff terminated Stambaugh 13 days past a deadline that a state law allows for punishing law enforcement officers once an investigation is completed. In the Miller case, it was a two days past the deadline.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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