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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – In a leaked video showing what appears to be surveillance footage of the shooter at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in action, a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is suspended.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel believes Deputy Michael Dingman, a 21-year veteran, could be the person who leaked it to gossip website TMZ.
“Based on the information I’m going to keep confidential for now, that was available to law enforcement and FBI, we conferred and agreed that right now the suspension is the practical, appropriate measure as we move forward,” said Sheriff Israel, speaking on WIOD Radio Wednesday morning. “Whoever did this is repulsive. It’s despicable, it could possibly be illegal.”
According to documents released by BSO on Wednesday, Dingman was disciplined in 2012 for searching in a law enforcement database for personal information on a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who pulled over a speeding Miami police officer.
The documents show that Dingman was written up and received a counseling report.
According to the disciplinary report, Dingman violated agency policy regarding discretion and computer usage.
The report says Dingman “also indicated that (he realized) that running someone’s name simply for the sake of satisfying one’s curiosity is inappropriate and contrary to policy.”
The documents show that Dingman was warned that further violations will result in disciplinary action.
Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief said FBI and county investigators enhanced the video, checking to see if a reflection in the middle showed the person who used a cell phone to shoot the video off a computer screen.
The investigation is ongoing – so are possible punishments if it’s proven.
“Tomorrow, I could put him back to full duty, I could suspend him with out pay, he could get arrested, he could get terminated,” Sheriff Israel added. “Everything is in play right now.”
While investigators look into the case, they’re also checking to see if anyone was paid for the video.
If so, Attorney Brad Cohen said that if they prove who sold it and that person was an officer, they could be in trouble.
“If he was paid for this video, there could be some kind of unlawful compensation charge because he was on duty at the time,” Cohen said. “He was in an area that only officers are allowed to be in and he was one of the only people who had access to that evidence, and he sold that evidence.”
Also on Wednesday, at the confirmation hearing for Elaine Chao, the nominee to be the next Secretary of Transportation, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson offered praise for the officers and first responders who rushed to the scene of Friday’s shooting as well as offering condolences to the victims and their families.
Nelson said that despite increases in airport security funding last year that doubled the amount of VIPR teams, dog teams and increased the screening of airport workers, more needs to be done in 2017 and beyond.
“This tragic shooting serves as a reminder that our work to improve airport security remains a constant challenge,” Nelson said.