Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony has found himself in the middle of another controversy after a photo showing him posing next to two topless women has surfaced online.
The photo in question, was posted by the political blog Red Broward and shows Tony posing next to the women at what was said to be a private event for bi-sexual women and couples in 2015.
It is unclear how the website retrieved the photo, however, it comes on the heels of Tony’s juvenile self-defense shooting controversy which has many questioning whether he should have gotten the sheriffs position.
Sheriff Tony was appointed to the position by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019 after former Sheriff Scott Israel was ousted.
During Monday’s coronavirus briefing, Gov. DeSantis spoke about his decision to appoint Tony saying he did not have a personal relationship with Tony nor did the shooting come up in his background check:
“It’s not like he was a political ally of mine. I wasn’t trying to do that. I was just trying to [appoint] someone that had done a good job,” DeSantis said. ” and I liked the fact that he had come from a real tough upbringing, Florida State football and had been a great law enforcement officer, so he’s gone through a lot of background investigations up until this point as well, and it seemed like he had the leadership.”
“It seems like he was in a rough neighborhood and was trying to defend his family, so because it was self-defense, I don’t think it would have made a difference,” “but it did not come up in the background check because he had never been charged.”
Former Coral Springs Police Chief Duncan Foster who hired Tony said on the other hand, that even though the incident was self-defense and Tony was a juvenile at the time, knowing about the shooting would have likely altered the election:
” The fact remains even though he was a juvenile, we have a lot of applicants to choose from, and all things being equal, looking at people’s past job performances, what school they went to, etc., all things being equal, we would have moved onto a better qualified candidate that didn’t have the background that Greg Tony turns out that he had,” Foster said. ” It would have been something that really needed to be put down on the application. The fact remains that you’re a juvenile, you’ve still been detained by detained by law enforcement.”
Speaking about the shooting Tony reported that:
” The courts and judge said, ‘No, this was self-defense. This young man had every right to protect himself and his family,” Tony said.
” In all that time, every background [check] I went through, through FDLE, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or the FBI clearances that I’ve had to acquire to attain this position, and many others, it’s never come up,” he said. “It never was something that was part of an application process, and I don’t want to be examined- I don’t think anyone would – as a 14-year-old victim when you’re interviewing related to an employment process and you’re trying to display your very best. I didn’t want anybody to feel sorry for me.”
He went on to tell the story saying that he and his brother got into an argument with a man named Hector Rodriguez and that Rodriguez then pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot them:
“He basically lost it and pulled a gun out and stated he had no problem with shooting us,” he said. “I was 14. I was frightened. I’ve seen my friend shot and killed in front of me. I was brutally beaten and had my sneakers taken off at gunpoint.”
Tony said Rodriguez chased him and his brother into their home, and that’s when Tony grabbed his father’s gun and opened fire on Rodriguez.
“I had an individual armed with a gun in our home, trying to kill me and my brother,” he said, “and fortunately, I had to respond and stop him by shooting him before he was able to kill me and my brother, and that great response, as horrific as it was, as frightening as it was, allowed me to be here today.”
In regards to the timing of the self-defense shooting, the Sheriff says he believes it is part of a smear campaign to prevent him from keeping his position ahead of the 2020 Election.
The development came a week after Tony lost a no-confidence vote for not being able to provide enough PPE to staff members.