The jury’s decision to not hold accountable the police officer who refused to confront shooter makes it more likely for such a tragedy to occur again.

Fort Lauderdale, June 29, 2023 – The Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) expresses deep concern over the recent acquittal of a Florida sheriff’s deputy in the 2018 Parkland school massacre trial, highlighting the troubling role of qualified immunity. The verdict underscores the urgent need to eliminate qualified immunity, a legal shield that allows law enforcement officers to evade accountability for their actions. The LPF stands firmly behind the principle that no one, including law enforcement, should be above the law.

Former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson was acquitted today of felony child neglect and other charges, despite evidence suggesting his failure to act during the on-campus shooting. This historic trial marks the first time a law enforcement officer has been tried for conduct during such a tragic event. While the jury has spoken, the LPF reminds everyone that qualified immunity grants excessive protection to law enforcement, often at the expense of justice and the rights of the public they are sworn to serve.

Qualified immunity, in essence, creates a double standard of justice. It allows law enforcement to escape accountability for their actions, while ordinary citizens would face severe consequences for similar misconduct. This legal doctrine undermines the trust and confidence that the public should have in those entrusted with protecting their lives and safety.

The LPF firmly believes that qualified immunity shields law enforcement from the consequences of their wrongdoings, perpetuating a culture of impunity. It is a system that enables law enforcement officers to evade justice for acts of police brutality and negligence, as seen in this case and many others across the nation. We must strive for a society where all individuals, regardless of their profession, are held accountable for their actions.

Former Deputy Scot Peterson’s failure to confront the shooter and protect innocent lives during the Parkland school massacre is a tragic example of the implications of qualified immunity. While he claims that the blame lies solely with the shooter, his duty as a law enforcement officer was to protect and serve, a responsibility he neglected. Instead of taking immediate action, Peterson chose inaction, resulting in the loss of precious lives. The not guilty verdict allows him to collect his $104,000 annual pension, an outcome that seems unjust given the circumstances.

The LPF calls upon lawmakers, citizens, and fellow political organizations to join the effort in ending qualified immunity. We advocate for a fair and just legal system where law enforcement officers are held accountable for their actions, fostering trust and transparency between the community and those sworn to protect it. The LPF will continue to champion the cause of justice, individual rights, and the dismantling of legal protections that shield law enforcement from their responsibilities.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Matt Johnson
Chair, LPF Communications Committee 
Libertarian Party of Florida
Email: [email protected] 

About the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF):
The Libertarian Party of Florida is the state affiliate of the national Libertarian Party. LPF advocates for individual liberty, limited government, and free markets. With a strong commitment to personal freedom and individual rights, LPF aims to provide a platform for principled, pragmatic, and fiscally responsible solutions to the challenges facing Floridians.


Lisa Gansky


Lisa Gansky, LPF Secretary, Columbia MBA. Author of "Amplify Your Impact: Generative AI for Volunteers & Activists."