BY OLIVIA GIL
Broward County sheriff Gregory Tony, is facing termination after the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause to believe that he “misused his public position” when working for the Coral Springs police department and the Broward County sheriff’s office. As a recently concluded investigation found that Tony repeatedly concealed or provided false information during application processes, his accreditation has been placed under jeopardy.
Tony’s name was involved in a 26 page “Brady” list of police and correctional officers whose cases of moral character are under review. Involving charges such as untruthfulness, candor issues and criminal convictions.
The commission met on September 13 to review these cases and Tony was found to have lied repeatedly about fatally shooting his neighbor during a fight on May 3, 1993.
Though he was acquitted of self-defense, Tony never disclosed the shooting; even when required. Nor did he disclose other information listed in a report issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which found that Tony also lied about the suspension of his driver’s license and whether he had used hallucinogenic drugs.
The officer claims that questions concerning the case were never asked during interviews or on applications, therefore finding it unnecessary to address.
In a 2020 interview, Tony stated that “In all that time, every background [check] I went through, through FDLE, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or the FBI clearances that I’ve had to acquire to attain this position, and many others. It’s never come up.”
When asked about the shooting, former Coral Springs police chief Duncan Foster, who hired Tony in 2005 said that it was never discussed.
The Coral Springs police department provided Tony’s application questions. On which he answered no to the following questions:
“Have you ever been arrested, charged, received a notice or summons to appear for any criminal violation?”
“Have you ever been detained by any law enforcement officer for investigative purposes or to your knowledge have you ever been the subject of, or a suspect in, any criminal investigation?”
Since a judge determined that Tony was acting in self defense and the case was seen through his juvenile years, records of the case remain sealed. Meaning that this seeming ‘he said, she said’ debate over the sheriff’s disclosure is only met with more controversy from the voters. With some wishing to remove Tony from his position in the police department and others sympathizing with his case.
Those who wish Tony removed from office cannot make any personal movements to do so. As the sheriff was elected for a four year term in 2020 and will only see an early leave if the governor dismisses him. Which looks to be an unlikely occurrence, given governor Ron DeSantis appointed Tony as interim sheriff in 2019, after removing former sheriff Scott Israel from office regarding his handling of the Marjory Stoenman Douglas school massacre.
In an address regarding the 1993 shooting, DeSantis said that his knowledge of the matter would not have changed his mind over appointing Tony.
“It seems like he was in a rough neighborhood and was trying to defend his family, so because it was self-defense, I don’t think it would have made a difference,” DeSantis said. “But it did not come up in the background check ’cause [sic] he had never been charged.”
The question now remains of whether sheriff Gregory Tony will have his accreditation taken away by the commission and remain in office; or whether this case will bring more matters into light and end in his termination.