Scot Peterson, the sheriff's deputy who received public scrutiny for failing to confront the shooter at a Parkland, Florida high school back in February, is now receiving his state pension of $8,702.35 per month.
Peterson resigned and retired a week after the shooting when an initial investigation revealed he didn't go into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to confront the shooter, who is charged with killing 17 students and teachers, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Peterson began to receive his pension in April, according to the Florida Department of Management Services. He can receive the payments for the rest of his life.
The 55-year-old Peterson, a Broward deputy for 32 years, was paid $101,879.03 last year — $75,673.72 in base salary plus overtime and other compensation, according to sheriff’s office records. Until the shooting, he was considered a trusted school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas, according to annual reviews of his performance.
He was eligible to retire from the agency in July 2010 when he had 25 years of service, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Surveilance video from Feb. 14 showed Peterson waiting outside the school while the shooter went through the halls with an AR-15 rifle shooting and killing students and teachers. President Donald Trump slammed Peterson, saying he "certainly did a poor job" and that he was a "coward" for not going into the school to try to help the students. Sheriff Scott Israel also criticized Peterson, saying he should have "went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer."
Following the shooting, Peterson released a statement saying he believed the gunshots were coming from outside of the school and not inside the building.
According to the state pension handbook, Peterson's pension payments are based on the "total number of years he worked and the average of his five highest-paid fiscal years." The Department of Management Services spokeswoman said health benefits, which Peterson receives through the sheriff’s office, are not included in the monthly amount he receives in pension. Officials have indicated that nothing to date prevents Peterson from receiving his retirement benefits.
Peterson would not be entitled to his pension if he were convicted of a crime such as embezzlement or bribery.
Neither the sheriff’s office nor the state attorney have indicated "any charges or other circumstances" that would justify withholding Peterson’s pension, Erin Rock, secretary for the Department of Management Services, concluded in a letter March 28.
A state commission is reviewing the police response to the shooting.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow died in the shooting, sued Peterson last month and released a statement Tuesday calling Peterson a "disgrace and a coward."
When asked about the pension, Pollack said, "He’s going to take it." He went on to say the money should go to help fund school safety or scholarships for wounded students. "But there’s nothing we can do about it," Pollack added.
"The coward of broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered!" Pollack tweeted. "How in the hell is he getting this? That money should go to actually securing our schools!"
The coward of broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered! How in the hell is he getting this?
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) May 16, 2018