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Officer in Parkland shooting fights subpoena, refuses to testify

He was criticized for his response during shooting

(CNN) - The school resource officer, criticized for not entering the building to confront the Parkland shooter, will not testify in an investigation of the shooting.

Scot Peterson's lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo III, told CNN that the former resource officer was subpoenaed to testify before a state commission investigating the February school shooting that left 17 people dead. DiRuzzo filed a three-point suit on Thursday to fight that subpoena and keep his client from having to appear at this week's hearings.

The suit lists Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission, the chair of the commission Bob Gualtieri and commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Richard L. Swearingen as the defendants. DiRuzzo alleges that the commission has abused the process and veered from its original purpose of finding facts to serving "personal agendas of the Commission members."

Gov. Rick Scott authorized the commission, according to the lawsuit, to "at a minimum" investigate the response to the shooting and make recommendations to improve the process going forward.

The complaint alleges that the commission has suppressed facts of the case that has become a "de facto criminal investigation"-- resulting in what they claim is an unconstitutional subpoena of Peterson.

Days after the February 14 massacre, footage surfaced of Peterson taking position outside the 1200 building of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School instead of entering the building where an active shooter was firing upon students and staff.

Peterson was called a coward by both President Donald Trump and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

The Sheriff's department put Peterson on unpaid leave while they investigated the incident, and shortly after Peterson left the department and began collecting state retirement.

DiRuzzo has called characterizations of Peterson's actions as cowardly "gross over-simplification" and said Peterson believed the gunshots were coming from outside the building.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office, or BSO, "trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes to other law enforcement," DiRuzzo said.

With more than 30 years on the job, Peterson's personnel file shows an exemplary record -- with two nominations for School Resource Deputy of the year.


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