The father of a student who was killed in February during the Parkland, FL, high school shooting is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a former sheriff’s deputy he accuses of cowardice.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Andrew Pollack filed the suit in Broward County court on behalf of his deceased daughter, who was gunned down by Nikolas Cruz on February 14th. Cruz, himself a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, killed 17 teenagers and adults before being taken into custody.
The suit, writes the Times, accuses former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson of failing to enter the school.
“I filed a wrongful death suit against Deputy Peterson today,” wrote Pollack on Twitter. “I want to expose that coward so bad. Where ever [sic] he goes I want people to recognize him and say that’s one of the cowards of Broward. The SRO that let those children and teachers die!”
Peterson has attracted extensive criticism for his inaction during the massacre. An armed resource officer assigned to the school, Peterson purportedly took cover in a safe space while Cruz continued killing. Although the deputy made several dispatch calls and requested that Marjory Stoneman be put on full lock-down, he never attempted to find or confront Cruz.
“Scot Peterson did nothing,” charges the suit. “He let those innocent people die because he was a coward.”
Pollack is seeking at least $15,000 in damages for pain and suffering, along with medical and funeral expenses.
However, the grieving father said the suit wasn’t about money.
“I want to be sure anywhere [Peterson] goes in the country [sic] he will be recognized as that coward that could have gone in and saved the students and teachers on the third floor,” wrote Pollack on Twitter.
USA Today notes that, along with Peterson, accused gunman Nikolas Cruz is also named as a defendant in the suit, as well as several mental health facilities that treated the 19-year old killer.
However, the brunt of the filing focuses on the deputy and his supposed cowardice. During the attack, Peterson maintained that he couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from. Wedged between two concrete walls, Peterson discouraged other officers from entering Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, even as Cruz kept firing.
The suit claims that Peterson “never once attempted to save a life, never once attempting to fire a single bullet” at Cruz and instead “waited and listened to the din of screams or [sic] teachers and students, many of whom were dead or dying, and the blasts of Nikolas Cruz’s repeated gunfire.”
Peterson resigned in the aftermath of the scandal, preferring to leave the force than face suspension and an internal investigation. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who initially defended his deputies, later told reporters that Peterson should have tried killing Cruz.