The public should be allowed to see the security video filmed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during last month’s shooting, a judge ruled Monday.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel and other media organizations sued the Broward County Sheriff’s Office last month for access to the video, arguing that it is crucial for the public to analyze law enforcement’s response to the shooting.
Deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s resource officer, resigned after Sheriff Scott Israel criticized him for waiting outside the school as a gunman fired on students inside. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations that other deputies also waited outside.
Broward County Circuit Judge Jeffrey R. Levenson signed an order authorizing the video’s release but immediately delayed the order until Thursday to give the Sheriff’s Office and the school board a chance to appeal.
The video reportedly does not show the gunman or any of the victims of the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been indicted on charges of murder and attempted murder. He is being held without bond at the Broward County main jail and is due in court Wednesday for arraignment.
His attorneys have said he is not denying guilt but is holding off on a guilty plea in the hopes that prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.
School district officials, including an assistant principal from Stoneman Douglas, argued in court last week that releasing the video would expose the limits of the cameras mounted at various positions on campus, creating a security risk.
The Sheriff’s Office indicated that Israel was in favor of releasing the video to the public but did not believe he had the authority, because it is part of an active criminal investigation and an internal affairs investigation into Peterson.
Dana McElroy, attorney for the media organizations, including the Miami Herald and CNN, argued that the video’s release is essential for a thorough and transparent analysis of the law enforcement response.