Deputy fired after Parkland school shooting massacre reinstated with back pay

A Florida sheriff’s deputy, whose inaction during a school shooting that left 17 dead led to his firing, has been reinstated with back pay by an arbitrator due to a technicality.

Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Stambaugh, who was fired for cowering behind his truck during the 2018 massacre, is now the second deputy fired following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School recommended for reinstatement, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Stambaugh, who drove away from the chaotic shooting scene, was recommended for reinstatement because the arbitrator ruled that Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony missed a deadline for the deputy’s dismissal, The Associated Press reported.

Tony relieved Stambaugh of duty June 29, 2019.

In a Tuesday statement to the Sun Sentinel, the sheriff’s office called the decision a bad one and said legal alternatives are being explored.

Specifically, the arbitrators ruled that the sheriff’s office failed to fire both Stambaugh and Sgt. Brian Miller in a timely manner, thereby, violating the deputies' right to due process. In Stambaugh’s case, the arbitrator found that Tony missed by 13 days a deadline that state law allows for punishing law enforcement officers once an investigation is completed. Miller’s case missed the deadline by two days, the Sun Sentinel reported.

“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 on February 14, 2018,” the general counsel for the sheriff’s office told the newspaper.

“The arbitrator ruled on a procedural issue that BSO allegedly took too long to conduct the investigation, instead of addressing Joshua Stambaugh’s failures and holding him accountable for his lack of response during the [Marjory Stoneman Douglas] massacre. The Broward Sheriff’s Office will explore all legal options to address this erroneous decision,” the attorney added.

Read more here and here.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.