Second Parkland officer reinstated on technicality after dismissal: report

Sheriff deputy hid behind car during shooting before driving away from school

A second Parkland cop has been reinstated on a technicality after being fired for his response to the 2018 school shooting, according to reports.

Broward Sheriff Deputy Josh Stambaugh, who hid behind his car before driving away from the shots fired at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was fired 13 days too late, an arbitrator ruled this week, the local CBS affiliate reported.

Stambaugh’s firing went against Florida state law requiring discipline of law enforcement officers within 180 days of an investigation’s end. It’s not clear how much he is owed through back pay.

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The decision follows that of another arbitrator who reinstated Sgt. Brian Miller four months ago, ruling that Sheriff Gregory Tony had missed his firing deadline by two days. Miller is due at least $125,000 in back pay.

Students are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., during the shooting that took place there in February.

Students are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., during the shooting that took place there in February. (AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

The sheriff’s office has already appealed the Miller decision and told the station it will also challenge the ruling for Stambaugh.

“Once again, an arbitrator with no connection or association with Broward County has made a flawed decision to reinstate a deputy who was terminated for his response to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement to the station.

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Stambaugh was working an off-duty shift at another school nearby when he decided to respond to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas, according to a state investigation into the response. After ducking behind his truck for five minutes, he hopped back in and left the scene.

A third fired deputy, Edward Eason, is scheduled to go before an arbitrator later this year. Eason was also blamed for fleeing the scene of the shooting and for failing to write up a report on an earlier tip that the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had made threats online about such an attack.

Cruz is still awaiting trial for 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the attack on Feb. 14, 2018.

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His lawyers have said he will plead guilty if he’s spared the death penalty and given a life sentence, a deal prosecutors have rejected.