Gov. DeSantis still hasn’t made decision over sheriff’s lies

May 10, 2022, 10:39 PM | Updated: May 11, 2022, 1:26 pm
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2019 file photo, acting Broward County sheriff Gregory Tony, right, speaks ...

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2019 file photo, acting Broward County sheriff Gregory Tony, right, speaks after being introduced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, at the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Gov. DeSantis said on Feb. 1 that he and his staff would “in the coming days” review a state report that found the sheriff he appointed lied repeatedly about killing another teenager almost 30 years ago, his past drug use and his driving record. That was 100 days ago on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 and neither DeSantis nor his staff have made any announcement about whether he will discipline Gregory Tony. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still has not said whether he will discipline a major county sheriff he appointed who state investigators found lied repeatedly about killing another teenager almost 30 years ago despite saying more than three months ago that he would soon review the case.

DeSantis said on Feb. 1 that he and his staff would “in the coming days” consider a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report that concluded Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony lied repeatedly on police applications about the shooting, his teenage drug use and his driving record. As of Wednesday, that was 100 days ago.

DeSantis’ press office did not respond to an email sent Tuesday by The Associated Press or a Wednesday phone call seeking an update. Under Florida law, a governor can permanently or temporarily suspend any local elected official for malfeasance or other infractions, with the official having the right to appeal to the Senate. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office declined comment Wednesday.

Ben Wilcox, co-founder of the government watchdog group Integrity Florida, said to a layperson, 100 days seems more than sufficient for DeSantis to decide, particularly since the investigation is complete. But, he said, it is hard to say for sure without knowing what the governor and his staff are doing with their review.

“I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. It is a weighty case,” Wilcox said. “But he has also removed people from office quickly.”

That’s what happened in 2019 when DeSantis, three days after taking office , fired Broward County’s then-sheriff, Scott Israel, and appointed Tony. DeSantis said Israel mishandled the February 2018 massacre at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.

The firing was anticipated, but Tony’s appointment was not — he was a former suburban police sergeant with little public profile. The father of a Stoneman Douglas victim who is a staunch DeSantis supporter had recommended him; the dad and Tony worked out at the same gym. The vetting process was completed in days and did not uncover the fatal shooting, which happened in Tony’s hometown of Philadelphia.

Tony was elected to a full four-year term later in November 2020.

That was six months after the Florida Bulldog website reported that Tony, then 14, fatally shot an 18-year-old neighbor during a 1993 fight at his family’s home using his father’s gun. He was charged with murder, but was acquitted in juvenile court after arguing self-defense. Tony never disclosed the shooting during his career, even when required, saying he did not see the need because of his acquittal.

After the Bulldog’s report, DeSantis downplayed Tony’s appointment, which he announced outside the sheriff’s office headquarters with Tony at his side.

“It’s not like he’s my sheriff,” DeSantis said two years ago. “I didn’t even know the guy. It was not like he was a political ally.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation. In its 20-page report issued Jan. 31, the agency said Tony repeatedly lied about the shooting on job applications.

Tony answered “no” when asked if he had ever been arrested for a felony when he successfully applied to the police academy in 2004 and again when he was hired in 2005 by the police department in Coral Springs, a Fort Lauderdale suburb. The report said he also falsely answered “no” on a Coral Springs background questionnaire when asked “Have you ever injured or caused the death of another person?” and “Were you ever in a fight involving a weapon?”

Coral Springs eventually promoted Tony to sergeant. He resigned in 2016 to run a police consulting firm, the job he held when DeSantis appointed him.

The day after the FDLE report’s release, DeSantis said at a Miami news conference, “We are going to review everything, take a look. We saw the initial report. It will be something we will be reviewing in the coming days.”

The FDLE also submitted its report to the state ethics commission, which could also recommend DeSantis suspend Tony.

According to its agendas, the ethics commission did not discuss Tony at its March or April meetings. It meets again next month. Commission officials declined comment Wednesday, saying any filings are confidential until they are discussed at a meeting.

The FDLE also found that in 2003, Tony answered truthfully that he once used LSD as a teenager when he applied for a job with the Tallahassee Police Department, his first law enforcement application. After that admission caused his rejection, investigators found that on subsequent police applications Tony answered “no” when asked if he had ever used hallucinogenic drugs.

Investigators say Tony also repeatedly lied on police and Florida driver’s license applications by answering “no” when asked if his license was ever suspended. Pennsylvania had suspended his license in 1996 for failing to pay traffic tickets. That last happened in 2019 when he applied for a new license shortly after he became sheriff.

The FDLE said Tony declined to be interviewed by its investigators.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Seattle Mariners including Jesse Winker, left; Ty France, third from right; Logan Gilbert, second f...
Tim Booth, Associated Press

Mariners end two decades of misery returning to postseason

Baseball is fun again in the Pacific Northwest in a way that it hasn’t been in more than two decades. The longest postseason drought in the four major professional sports ended Friday night when the Mariners earned a long-coveted spot in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
20 hours ago
Associated Press

After storms, NYC moving location of planned migrant shelter

NEW YORK (AP) — A facility using giant tents to temporarily house migrants being sent to New York City will now be located closer to Manhattan instead of a remote corner of the Bronx, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday, after weekend storms raised concerns over flooding at the original site. The city’s humanitarian relief center […]
20 hours ago
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) scores a touchdown against the Denver Broncos durin...
Associated Press

Justices won’t revive Oakland’s lawsuit over loss of Raiders

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Oakland’s last-ditch effort to revive an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League over the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas in 2020. The city had been seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in its claim that the league violated federal antitrust law by acting like a […]
20 hours ago
Colombia's Vice President Francia Marquez shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ...
Associated Press

Blinken backs Colombia’s ‘holistic’ approach to drug policy

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday backed Colombia’s recent efforts to rethink its drug policy and said the Biden administration and Colombia’s newly elected government will work together on rural development programs and interdiction efforts, while sharing intelligence on drug trafficking groups. The comments came after a meeting between […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

American man missing after falling from raft in Bali river

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — A search resumed Tuesday for an American man who fell into a fast-flowing river while whitewater rafting on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali. Robinaugh Clifford Neil, 63, was among a group of 10 foreign tourists floating on two rafts on the Ayung River when they encountered trouble Monday in hilly terrain […]
20 hours ago
Navy Rear Adm. John Wade, commander of Joint Task Force Red Hill, speaks to reporters at a media ro...
Associated Press

Navy admiral to seek community input on Red Hill fuel tanks

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AP) — The commander of the task force responsible for draining fuel from a World War II-era storage tank facility that leaked jet fuel and poisoned Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year said Monday he’s exploring ways to get community feedback. Rear Adm. John Wade told reporters at a news […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Gov. DeSantis still hasn’t made decision over sheriff’s lies