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DeSantis could suspend Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony for potentially lying about and old murder charge

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony speaks at a news conference announcing the opening a new 2,600-square-foot strategic command and intelligence center, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The center, located at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, is expected to monitor live video feeds at more than 260 public schools and administrative buildings across the county. (AP Photo/Ellis Rua

(BROWARD COUNTY, FLA) — The Florida Commission on Ethics has found probable cause to continue looking into claims against Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony regarding an acquittal in a murder case. The commission found Tony either omitted or lied on law enforcement and Florida driver’s license paperwork about being acquitted of murder when he was 14 years old.

Sheriff Tony’s attorney told the state ethics commission that, “He did not withhold vital information from state law enforcement forms that would have revealed he was involved in a fatal shooting when he was a teenager.”

“Could things have been done differently, could things have been done better? Probably. Most likely. But that’s not what’s before this commission,” Tony’s attorney Louis Jean-Baptiste argued, saying the sheriff hadn’t used his office for personal benefit.

The commission found probable cause to pursue an ethics case against the sheriff anyway, for the second time in recent months.

The end result could potentially be a recommendation by the panel that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspend him.

All eight commission members in attendance voted to find probable cause to pursue a case against Tony’s untruths. A ninth member was absent from the hearing.

The probable cause was that Tony misused his public position:

—When he provided false information or did not disclose information during the appointment process for his service as Broward County Sheriff by the governor.

—When he completed a notarized form to the state while already serving as Broward’s sheriff.

—When he applied to renew his driver’s license while serving in public office to benefit himself.

Also, reports that Dozens of pages of newly released Philadelphia police records about the 1993 murder arrest of Gregory Scott Tony are casting new doubt on the Broward sheriff’s claim that he fired in “self-defense,” as a 14-year-old, when he shot and killed 18-year-old Hector “Chino” Rodriguez.

Tony was acquitted of Rodriguez’s May 3 murder and several related gun charges on Dec. 15, 1993, but all juvenile court records about the case have not been found and have apparently been destroyed.