By Kevin Deutsch
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony could face suspension by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for lying during his application process to join the Coral Springs Police Department in 2005 after an FDLE investigation confirmed he lied about a past murder arrest and other facts, authorities said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement report on Tony, made public Monday, found that some of the lies he told on official records—including the Coral Springs application files and an affidavit he signed when he became Broward’s newest sheriff—happened too long ago for criminal charges to be filed.
State officials said Tony will not face prosecution for the falsehoods but could be suspended by the governor who appointed him.
“We are going to review everything, take a look,” DeSantis said of the FDLE’s findings during a press conference held in Miami Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “We saw the initial report. It will be something we will be reviewing in the coming days.”
Under Florida law, DeSantis has the power to suspend any local official, on a temporary or permanent basis, for malfeasance and other improprieties. The suspended official also has the right to appeal the governor’s decision before the Florida Senate.
FDLE investigators said their investigation found that Tony lied about his arrest history when he applied to join the Coral Springs Police Department, where he was hired and rose to the rank of sergeant.
Before being offered a job with the local force, Tony failed to disclose he had been arrested for fatally shooting a man in Philadelphia in 1993, when he was 14 years old, according to FDLE. He was charged with murder, the agency said.
Tony argued his killing of the man, Hector Rodriguez, 18, was done in self-defense. The future sheriff was later found not guilty.
Tony has said Rodriguez pulled a gun on him and his brother, threatening to kill them.
But he did not mention his murder arrest on Coral Springs Police application records, or in his sheriff’s affidavit, according to FDLE.
He also lied about past drug use and his traffic citation history, the FDLE found.
“Although it appears that Tony knowingly and willfully mislead public servants in the performance of their official duties by making false statements in writing on his official applications (regarding his traffic citation, drug use, and arrest history) to members of the CSPD, a criminal prosecution of these actions would be negated per Florida State Statute (F.S.S.) 775.15 (2) (d), Florida’s Statute of Limitations,” the agency said in its report.
Tony was appointed by DeSantis shortly after the governor took office in 2019.
The governor fired the previous Broward Sheriff, Scott Israel, for what DeSantis considered Israel’s mishandling of the response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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