Questions about how police responded to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School could become clear in video footage due out Thursday.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel, along with other media organizations, sued last month for access to the video, arguing that it is critical to the public’s understanding of the tragedy.
Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey R. Levenson agreed, and the Broward County School District decided Wednesday not to appeal, clearing the way for the video’s release.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office also had decided not to appeal and plans to release the footage Thursday.
The video became important after reports that Deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s resource officer, took up a position outside the building and did not go inside as Nikolas Cruz killed 17 staff and students with an AR-15 rifle.
Peterson resigned after Sheriff Scott Israel criticized him for not taking action to stop the killing. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations that other officers also waited outside the building.
Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he agrees with allowing the public to see the video as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the investigation of the massacre.
“I believe in transparency with the public and I believe they should see it,” Runcie said. “The public has a right to know what happened, and we should be able to learn from that and figure out what we need to change in our institutions to get better as we go forward.”
School Board Chairwoman Nora Rupert said district attorneys reviewed the video before deciding not to appeal.
“The attorneys agreed it wouldn’t give any of our secrets away with regard to security” at the school,” Rupert said. Nor will it personally identify students, she said.
Sheriff’s officials have said the video does not show Cruz or any of the victims.
Cruz, 19, has been indicted on charges of murder and attempted murder. The State Attorney’s Office has said it will pursue the death penalty against him.
(Staff writer Wayne Roustan contributed to this report.)
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