Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement confirmed on Wednesday that it plans to review Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony’s sworn affidavit, which asserts that he has never had a criminal record sealed or expunged and pledges his answers were “true and correct.”
“We did receive a complaint and we will review the complaint,” said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “We do not have an active investigation.”
Broward prosecutors sent the so-called “affidavit of applicant” to FDLE for review.
Local newspaper accounts from 1993 say Tony, then age 14, killed an 18-year-old man in Philadelphia. Tony told the South Florida Sun Sentinel last Sunday that he did not think he was technically “charged with a crime” and claimed it was a case of self-defense.
DeSantis was unaware about the killing when he appointed Tony as sheriff in January of last year.
Tony told the Sun Sentinel on Sunday that he not believe the disclosure would have affected DeSantis’ decision.
“You’re saying that I should have disclosed a horrific incident that I faced as a 14-year-old kid, where I had to survive a shooting,” he said. “… Why would I put myself in a position where I’m talking about a brutal attack that I survived, for the sake of an interview? I don’t think anyone would have done that.”
Stacey Witalec, the spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania courts, says no records are publicly available, and she could not say whether the records from Tony’s case were sealed or expunged.
His campaign consultant, Eric Johnson, told the newspaper that the 1993 paperwork was sealed after Tony was cleared. He also argues that Tony did not commit any mistakes on the form. According to Johnson, a question on the form asked if a “criminal” record had been sealed, and he reiterates that Tony had been found not guilty. “It was not a criminal record, because it wasn’t a crime,” he added.
Murder charges were filed against Tony 27 years ago when he was a 14-year-old growing up in North Philadelphia. The Florida Bulldog, which first published the story, reported that there were conflicting accounts of the shooting incident involving an 18-year-old neighbor.
The victim’s girlfriend told the Florida Bulldog that her then-boyfriend was unarmed and that the shooting was prompted by an argument. Tony said he shot the victim in self-defense.
He was originally charged as an adult, but prosecutors later moved the case to juvenile court, where he was found not guilty, the Bulldog reported. Yet, Tony never revealed the incident on his law enforcement job applications.
Tony is seeking election for the first time this summer. He is running against Scott Israel, the man he replaced when Gov. DeSantis suspended Israel for what the governor considered to be the Sheriff’s Office’s failures in mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017.
Report: Broward Sheriff Tony was Involved in Fatal Shooting at Age 14