Investigators: Sheriff lied about past; no criminal charges
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — State law enforcement officials found that a South Florida sheriff lied years ago while applying for a police job, but he will not face criminal charges.
Some of the falsehoods made by Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony were too long ago to prosecute, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report released Monday. The agency is declining to pursue a more recent allegation about lying to obtain a driver license because the clerk’s memory wasn’t clear.
Tony was first appointed sheriff in January 2019. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, days after taking office, fired former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel because of his office’s mishandling of the Feb. 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre that left 17 dead and replaced Israel with the little-known Tony.
The former Coral Springs police sergeant had quit that department in 2016 to operate a consulting firm that specialized in active shooter training. Tony went on to beat Israel in the Democratic primary in August 2020 and eventually won the general election that November.
According to the FDLE report, Tony lied in 2005 when he applied to the Coral Springs Police Department. Tony answered no when asked whether he’d ever been in a fight where a weapon was used. He also answered no when asked whether he’d ever injured or caused the death of another person. Tony stated that “fighting” was the most serious thing he’d ever done in his life.
State investigators found that Tony was arrested and charged with murder and several weapons offenses in 1993 when he was 14 years old. The shooting happened at Tony’s family home in the Badlands neighborhood of Philadelphia, an area known for its violence and open-air drug dealing.
Tony previously told reporters that the shooting happened after an argument he and his brother had with an 18-year-old drug dealer with a criminal record. Tony was tried for the shooting but found not guilty after arguing that he acted in self-defense.
Investigators also reported that Tony lied about traffic violations, drug use and a charge for passing a bad check.
Tony couldn’t be reached Monday evening to comment on the state’s report.