PARKLAND — Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer who was present at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the February massacre that killed 17 students and teachers, may have saved his life when he hid outside the school and neglected to confront the shooter, but he certainly did no favors to his reputation. Now, the disgraced officer is facing the civil consequences of his inaction.
Andrew Pollack, father of 17-year-old student Meadow Pollack (who was killed in the mass shooting), has filed suit against Peterson, as well as against alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz, Cruz’s mother’s estate, and James Snead and Kimberly Snead, with whom Cruz resided following his mother’s November death.
“Peterson is my main target,” Pollack clarified about the suit. “He could have stopped it. Could have saved my kid. Nobody should be able to not do their job, receive a pension and ride off into the sunset.”
Peterson, 54, was forced to resign amid backlash from the public, and even Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel spoke out against the resource officer in far less than flattering terms.
“It makes me sick to my stomach that we had a deputy that didn’t go in,” Israel stated.
Once video emerged of Peterson cowering outside the school when gunfire began, he resigned and retired.
The wording in the lawsuit is no kinder than that offered by Israel. The suit alleges that Peterson (referred to as “pusillanimous”) had “cowered in a safe location between two concrete walls” while Cruz “rained bullets upon the teachers and students.”
Further underscoring the impression of Peterson’s cowardice were the actions of Coral Springs Police Department officers, who entered the school immediately upon responding to the call, though they came to learn that the shooter had already fled at that point.
The Pollack family took their campaign against Peterson to social media as well, with Andrew tweeting, “Where ever [Peterson] goes I want people to recognize him and say that’s one of the cowards of Broward.”
Andrew’s son Hunter Pollack added via his own Twitter account: “My family wants the world to know this is the guy that hid behind a concrete wall while kids and teachers were killed. He’s a WEASAL COWARD, and no matter where he goes should be recognized as a failure. He failed to act, and then lied about it after. We will not forget!” Peterson, who worked in law enforcement for 33 years, announced via his attorney Joseph DiRuzzo in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that he felt his actions—or lack thereof—had been appropriate.
“Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” DiRuzzo conveyed.
It would appear the Pollack family was not convinced.