A school resource officer who stayed outside during the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, was found not guilty on charges of child neglect, negligence and perjury. Unlike the 17 victims of America's deadliest high school shooting ever, Scot Peterson escaped with his life after "taking cover for more than 45 minutes outside the school's three-story 1200 building." Now he has his freedom too.
"I've got my life back," Peterson, a former deputy for the Broward County Sheriff's Office, told reporters outside court, describing the years since the shooting as "an emotional roller coaster."
State prosecutors accused Peterson of ignoring his training and doing nothing as 17 people, including 14 students, were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in what remains the deadliest US high school shooting ever. His attorney argued the then-deputy didn't enter the school's 1200 building, the site of the attack, because he couldn't tell where the shots were coming from.
A challenge for prosecutors is that police have no duty to protect. Their case here reportedly hinged on applying a Florida caregiver statue to law enforcement. That Peterson remained at the scene to cower, rather than excusing himself entirely, showed more spine than the courts expect of him, and jurors weren't included to find any need for more.
If you're wondering what the cops in schools are there for, then, now that's a good question.