FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Dozens of people rallied in support of one of two Broward sheriff’s deputies who were reassigned while their social media posts are being investigated.
Dozens of people gathered outside the sheriff’s office headquarters on Thursday in support of Deputy Ron Thurston who was assigned to a desk job after a critical social media post about the diversity in the department.
In the post, which came after George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, Thurston wrote that there were few black deputies assigned to various divisions at the department, including homicide and major narcotics.
“We think it’s unfair. All he did was state facts about what was going on in the department and we just think it’s unfair what happened to him,” said Thurston’s sister Kay Grant.
“I don’t think that the sheriff likes my brother very much for speaking his mind. I think this was a way to pay him back, and you know, hit him below the belt. He knows my brother loves his job so this is a way to retaliate,” said Vernika Moore Elie.
Sheriff Gregory Tony is in a tough campaign fight with former Sheriff Scott Israel who is trying to get his job back. Israel made a brief appearance at the rally in support of Thurston.
Thurston supports Israel.
“He’s one of those few good men who understands God, country, and family,” said Thurston’s uncle Gregory Thurston.
Thurston has been disciplined before for “conduct unbecoming an employee sustained” and “not meeting BSO standards.” Some at the rally said it was not about politics.
“I live here and I don’t want to live in a situation like that,” said one man.
“There has to be a change here in Broward County and the change starts with the top administrators here, and for some reason, they’ve been doing this for quite some time now,” said another man.
Sheriff’s Tony campaign released a statement that said the rally was a political event organized by Israel.
As for the second deputy who was reassigned, Michael Ruback, what he is accused of posting online is unclear.