Florida Superintendent Arrested on Perjury Cost in College Security Inquiry

MIAMI — The superintendent of the general public faculty district in Broward County, Fla., was arrested on Wednesday as a part of a wide-ranging legal investigation that started within the tumultuous months after the mass capturing at a highschool in Parkland.

Robert W. Runcie, the superintendent, was charged with perjury, a felony, for mendacity to a grand jury that was impaneled to research “attainable failures in following school-related security legal guidelines and mismanaging funds solicited for varsity security initiatives,” in line with the Florida Division of Regulation Enforcement.

The authorities additionally arrested Barbara J. Myrick, the district’s common counsel. She was charged with illegal disclosure of statewide grand jury proceedings, which can also be a felony. Each Mr. Runcie, 59, and Ms. Myrick, 72, have been launched shortly after they have been booked into jail. Neither responded to requests for remark.

The 2 high-profile arrests are the most recent turmoil to encompass Broward County’s high leaders because the capturing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College, which left 17 college students and staff lifeless and 17 others wounded in 2018 and led to a nationwide wave of activism to curb gun violence. Florida tightened gun legal guidelines and launched faculty security necessities after the capturing — and allowed some academics to carry weapons at school.

In Broward County, the capturing solid an extended shadow over the sheriff’s workplace for its botched response to the bloodbath, and the varsity district for a way it had beforehand dealt with the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas pupil, and different college students with troubling habits at school. (Mr. Cruz is in jail awaiting trial for capital homicide.)

The households of a few of the victims have sued each authorities entities, claiming negligence and searching for probably tens of millions of {dollars} in damages. Among the households additionally led an unsuccessful try to have Mr. Runcie fired. The college board now consists of two victims’ kin: Lori Alhadeff, who misplaced her 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, and Debra Hixon, who misplaced her husband, Christopher, who had been the athletic director at Stoneman Douglas.

Tony Montalto, the president of Stand With Parkland, a bunch of a few of the households, stated in a press release on Wednesday that the households have been grateful for the grand jury’s work.

“The grand jury is doing its job by holding the people who find themselves accountable for the protection of our kids and workers members accountable,” stated Mr. Montalto, who misplaced his 14-year-old daughter, Gina, within the capturing. “We all know that Mr. Runcie’s poor management contributed to the Parkland tragedy.”

Former Sheriff Scott J. Israel, a Democrat, was faraway from workplace by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, shortly after the governor took workplace in 2019. Mr. Israel ran for sheriff once more final 12 months and misplaced to Gregory Tony, whom Mr. DeSantis had appointed to take Mr. Israel’s place.

Separate from its investigation into the varsity district, the Florida Division of Regulation Enforcement can also be investigating Sheriff Tony, in line with courtroom information. That inquiry stems from revelations throughout final 12 months’s marketing campaign that Mr. Tony, a Democrat, had shot and killed a person as a teen in Philadelphia and lied on an affidavit to turn out to be sheriff.

Broward County Public Faculties, the nation’s sixth-largest district, has an extended historical past of mismanagement and corruption scandals, a lot of them associated to high school development. Greater than a decade in the past, a college board member served jail time after taking bribes from undercover brokers posing as contractors.

The most recent arrests are associated to a grand jury born after Mr. DeSantis requested it in February 2019.

“Because the one-year anniversary of one of many darkest days in Florida historical past approaches, it’s clear extra must be completed,” he stated in a press release on the time.

A state fee additionally investigated the capturing and has continued to satisfy periodically.

In January, the authorities arrested Tony Hunter, the district’s former chief data officer. The grand jury, which relies in Broward County, charged him with bid tampering and illegal compensation by a public official after he was accused of steering a $17 million expertise contract to a buddy. He has pleaded not responsible.

The grand jury was impaneled to research attainable wrongdoing at school districts statewide, together with if refusal or failure to comply with faculty security legal guidelines put college students in danger; if districts have dedicated fraud by accepting state funds conditioned on security measures with out placing them into place and if districts have diverted funds from bonds for varsity security for different functions.

The grand jury was additionally empowered to research the place districts are “systematically underreporting” incidents of legal exercise in faculties, a rivalry some mother and father of Parkland college students made after the capturing. Mr. Runcie, who was employed by the varsity board in 2011, had championed ending so-called zero tolerance insurance policies that resulted within the suspensions and expulsions of many college students of shade.

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