By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Four months ago, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony signed a Florida Department of Law Enforcement affidavit declaring under oath that he never had a criminal record sealed or expunged.
The Jan. 7 affidavit – notarized, signed and dated boldly in blue ink by Tony – comes to light amid news that Tony shot and killed a man in Philadelphia when he was a teenager in 1993 and that all court records about his case are sealed.
The form includes a notice above Tony’s signature that it constitutes an official statement under the law and that any “intentional omission” or “false execution…shall constitute a misdemeanor of the second degree and disqualify the officer for employment as an officer.”
Under Florida law, a second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by “a definite term of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days” or up to a $500 fine.
On his annual financial disclosure form last June, Tony reported his annual sheriff’s salary to be $188,262.
Tony acknowledged the shooting on Saturday when first questioned about it by Florida Bulldog.
“When I was 14 years old, growing up in a neighborhood in Philadelphia filled with violence and gang activity, I shot an armed man in self-defense. The juvenile authorities reviewed my actions and cleared my name,” Tony wrote in an email. “This was the most difficult and painful experience of my life and I have never spoken of it publicly.”
The dead man’s girlfriend disputed Tony’s account, saying Hector “Chino” Rodriguez was unarmed, and that no gun tied to him was found at the scene.
In various subsequent one-on-one interviews, Tony contended he kept the matter a complete secret all these years – failing to disclose it when applying for law enforcement jobs and not informing Gov. Ron DeSantis before DeSantis named him as sheriff in January 2019 – because he didn’t believe he was obliged to do so because he’d been acquitted at trial before a Juvenile Court judge.
Florida law requires all “employed or appointed” law enforcement officers to complete a sworn affidavit provided by FDLE’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission attesting to his or her compliance with various state employment requirements. The commission’s mission: “to ensure that all citizens of Florida are served by criminal justice officers who are ethical, qualified, and well-trained.”
Among other things the affidavit asked Sheriff Tony to answer true or false to this statement: “I had a criminal record sealed or expunged.” Tony checked false.
Tony did not respond to a request for comment about the affidavit.
Questions without answers
While Tony has submitted to numerous interviews with television and newspapers about the matter, he has declined to be interviewed in person or by phone by Florida Bulldog. On Tuesday, he stopped answering our follow-up questions seeking clarification.
For instance, when asked if he would be willing to assist in substantiating his account by waiving confidentiality in Pennsylvania in order to obtain and share his complete juvenile court and police records, he did not respond.
Tony likewise did not respond when asked about his assertion in several interviews that he had not been arrested following the shooting. He said that by way of explaining why he didn’t disclose his homicide arrest on forms he filled out in 2005 to become a policeman in Coral Springs. Tony checked “no” when asked if he’d ever been arrested and again when asked if he’d ever been “detained by any law enforcement officer for investigative purposes” or “have you ever been the subject of, or a suspect in, any criminal investigation.”
According to a Philadelphia police homicide report obtained exclusively by Florida Bulldog, however, the District Attorney’s Office “approved charges of Murder, PIC and PUFA” the next day. PIC is a charge for allegedly possessing “an instrument of crime.” PUFA refers to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act.
The charges were formally issued by “Arrest Warrant #201631 signed by Bail Commissioner Schlagman,” the report says. Tony surrendered the same day, accompanied by an attorney and bond was set a week later at $15,000. After that, the case was transferred to Juvenile Court.
Finally, Sheriff Tony would not help clear up significant discrepancies in his account of the shooting. He told interviewers that after an argument Rodriguez, the 18-year-old man he killed, had pulled a gun, threatened he and his family and chased Tony inside his home before Tony grabbed his father’s .32-caliber revolver and fired multiple shots first.
“He went into our home armed with a gun,” Tony told The Miami Herald on Sunday. “He was in the home. I shot him in the house and fortunately he didn’t shoot me and my brother.”
But the homicide report says this: “The investigation revealed that the scene was in front of 2828 N. Hutchinson St., & the victim was shot by a Gregory Scott 14/B/M, residence 2828 N. Hutchinson, during the course of an argument.” (Tony’s name is misstated and misspelled several times in the two-page report.)
Rodriguez’s mother, Norma Rodriguez, and his then-girlfriend, Maritza Carrasquillo, are in agreement with the police account. In separate interviews with Florida Bulldog, they said Tony shot Hector Rodriguez from the front stoop of his home while Rodriguez was standing on the sidewalk six to 10 feet away.
Similarly, the Philadelphia Daily News quoted Tony’s stepfather, William Scott, as saying that immediately after the shooting he saw “this kid lying in the street.” The newspaper account made no mention of Rodriguez entering the home.
Also, it is noteworthy that the report makes no mention of any gun owned or controlled by Rodriguez being found at the scene.
Mike S. / May 6, 2020 12:53 pm
I would like to think the Sheriff of 2 million people understands that if he was charged and went to trial then he was arrested. Did he learn nothing while being a police officer in Coral Springs?
Thomas D James / May 6, 2020 1:18 pm
FL Bulldog shilling for disgraced ex sheriff Israel. you guys should be ashamed of yourselves.
Frank / May 6, 2020 3:12 pm
Great Reporting!!! Can you please post the police report.
Michael Riggs / May 6, 2020 3:32 pm
The former sheriff, I believe was absolutely horrible. However, this man appears to have issues as well. I am looking into other candidates to vote for. These decisions should be made with as much information as possible. I want any/ all info available, good and bad. Thank you for this update.
Larry Lunch / May 6, 2020 3:47 pm
Shill for Israel? LOL! Was it Israel who used a gun to kill a man then keep it secret? Tony made his bed, now he has to sleep in it.
Unfake News / May 6, 2020 5:32 pm
Retired journalist in PA. I was working in Miami when this happened. Lots of sources in Philly and H’burg. What’s his d.o.b.? I will get you the info you’re looking for if Florida promises to Baker Act Donald Trump the moment he steps off his plane at Mar-A-Lago. We’re dying up here, too. Either way, contact me.
Douglas Dame / May 6, 2020 10:06 pm
I’m not a lawyer, but if he didn’t plead and wasn’t determined to be guilty in a judicial proceeding, he doesn’t have a “CRIMINAL record”, per se. So I’m not sure this affidavit to the FDLE is incorrect, in a technical sense.
But his application to the Coral Springs police dept asked broader questions, and there it appears he was not truthful. As I understand it, in most states, sealed juvenile records are NOT sealed in regards to employment checks for law enforcement, so that history should have been disclosed.
J Rip Holmes / May 7, 2020 9:33 am
I am extremely happy that Governor DeSantis fired the, to me, corrupt Sheriff Israel.
This article says to me that Governor DeSantis now needs to roll up his sleeves, and replace Gregory Tony.
STROKER ACE / May 7, 2020 9:49 am
That’s just good old fashioned investigative reporting right there. Report the facts, and investigate to the bitter end. As a twenty-year veteran still employed here in South Florida, let me assure everyone that if one of his thousands of deputies were caught entering false information on an official, notarized, FDLE document, they’d be terminated.
dave hogerty / May 7, 2020 10:06 am
I’ll say, for the record, I supported sheriff Israel, and thought his removal was one of Ron DeSantis’ actions, proving that he is unfit to govern Florida. That said, the claims that The Bulldog is “shilling for Israel,” are ridiculous, and those making such a claim should look in the mirror and “see” why Florida has been given over to the Republican party.
And that said, I have one question. If one is accused, but not convicted, of a crime, wouldn’t that mean that they (Sheriff Tony) doesn’t have a “criminal record,” regarding the incident?
nikki / May 7, 2020 10:28 am
The bottom line regardless of him being arrested, convicted or not back 30 years ago, he SHOULD HAVE DISCLOSED THIS ENCOUNTER ON HIS AFFIDAVIT, and then NO ONE could say that he didn’t disclose this information.
Edward A Crespo / May 7, 2020 12:11 pm
Come on Dave – leave the political rhetoric out of this. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans. The ONLY issue here is Sheriff Tony’s (admitted) concealment of his past history! A LIE OF OMISSION IS STILL A LIE! ALL law enforcement officers are “Officers of the Court” – just like all lawyers and all Judges! So if any of them get caught violating their Oath of Office, shouldn’t they have to face the consequences? And let’s not forget that Governor DeSantis is a Republican – yet he saw fit to install a Democrat as the Sheriff of Broward County! Maybe Sheriff Tony is (technically) a good Sheriff – maybe he isn’t. I DON’T KNOW AND I DON’T CARE! He FALSIFIED the information on his police application and THAT is where he “screwed every pooch in the kennel”! EVERYTHING ELSE ASIDE – the fact remains that he KILLED someone when he was only 14 years old and ONLY NOW are we finding out about it! Falsifying a job application is grounds for dismissal. He’s now a victim of his own BAD DECISIONS! Goodbye Tony!
Doo Doo / May 7, 2020 7:23 pm
Passed bad checks in college.
Poses with loose women.
Kills a man.
Combative and confrontational with BSO rank-and-file.
“I don’t know the man !!!”
“Not my sheriff !!!”
Any more pathetic, and he’d sound like St. Peter before the cock crowed.
DeSantis won’t remove: “Let’s leaver to the voters”:
But he had no problem removing Israel.
And it would seem Tony blatantly lied; all DeSantis said was that Israel was “incompetent” – Nebulous BS.
Fire Greg Tony / May 8, 2020 3:33 pm
Isn’t it just a little suspicious that’s his dad spells his name TONEY & this idiot spells his name TONY ?? Let’s not forget her withheld from Coral Springs that he was charged with writing bad checks at age 21. He kept the a secret too. He’s a lying murderer
Tell The Truth / May 11, 2020 9:43 pm
I live, work, pay taxes and own properties in Broward County. The last thing I want is a crook, liar, swinger and a murderer for my Sheriff.
cavi / May 12, 2020 3:12 pm
“Have you had record sealed or expunged ?” Pretty clear…
David / May 13, 2020 8:07 pm
The most corrupt Sheriff’s Office in the United States. It has been for ages, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Stop This Lynching / May 20, 2020 10:49 am
The question asks if he had a Criminal Record Sealed.
A Shooting that was ultimately ruled to be Self-Defense and/or for which there is No Conviction, is not a Criminal Record.
Sips Tea / May 29, 2020 10:26 am
not to mention Israels failure to pay child support… not to mention the cover up of Israel’s son… not to mention Israel and his brother who beat a Wilton Manors resident while off duty because they “feared for their life”
Ruth Staab / February 15, 2021 11:21 am
Obviously nobody likes the will of the people, so money interests come in and try to strike the sheriff down. If the records haven’t been sealed, then the records were no sealed. Prove differently or shut up!