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Florida Judge Allows Reenactment of Parkland School Shooting in Civil Lawsuit

Florida Judge Allows Reenactment of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Civil Lawsuit Against Former School Resource Officer

A Florida judge has ruled to allow reenactments of the 2018 mass shooting inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s 1200 building as part of a civil lawsuit against the former school resource officer, Scot Peterson. Peterson was found not guilty of criminal charges last month after being accused of failing to confront the shooter and remaining outside the building during the attack, which resulted in the deaths of 17 people, including 14 students.

The civil action, brought by several victims’ families and a survivor, aims to prove that Peterson heard the gunshots and knew where they were coming from. The plaintiffs’ motion requested permission to conduct audio and video recordings during a reenactment that would parallel the movements of the shooter and the gunfire inside the building.

Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips has allowed both the plaintiffs and the defense to conduct reenactments, with coordination to ensure they occur on the same day or consecutive days before the new academic year begins next month. The reenactments must take place within the next month, and a status hearing has been scheduled for July 20 to ensure both sides are on track.

The admissibility of the reenactment recordings as evidence at trial is yet to be determined. The defense has raised concerns about the use of blanks during the reenactment, arguing that they do not accurately represent live rounds. There are also concerns about the potential trauma the reenactments could inflict on the community, particularly those living around the school.

Despite these concerns, Jeffrey Tew, an attorney for the parents of one of the victims, expressed support for the reenactment, stating that the families of the deceased and wounded children have authorized the motion. The custody of the building where the shooting occurred has been returned to the Broward County School District, and plans to demolish the building are set to begin within 30 days of receiving access.

Demolition is not expected to be completed before the start of the new school year on August 21. Some families of the victims have been allowed to privately tour the building following the verdict in the criminal case against Peterson. Max Schachter, father of one of the victims, described the scene inside as a “war zone” and expressed his desire to visit his son’s classroom.

CNN’s Carlos Suarez and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.
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What ethical concerns arise from using reenactments in the civil lawsuit against Scot Peterson, specifically regarding the potential emotional distress it may cause to the victims’ families and survivors?

Hold Peterson accountable for his alleged negligence during the shooting. The judge’s decision to allow reenactments in the civil lawsuit has raised questions about the potential emotional distress it may cause to the victims’ families and survivors.

The reenactments will likely involve the use of actors and props to recreate the scene inside the 1200 building during the shooting. Supporters argue that this will provide crucial evidence in demonstrating Peterson’s alleged inaction and failure to protect the individuals inside the school. They believe it will help the jury better understand the events that unfolded on that tragic day.

On the other hand, critics argue that the reenactments will be deeply traumatic for the victims’ families and survivors, forcing them to relive the horrific events they experienced. They express concerns about the potential for retraumatization and the emotional toll it may take on the mental well-being of those involved. Additionally, some critics argue that reenactments may bias the jury and influence their decision-making process.

The judge’s decision to allow reenactments in this civil lawsuit highlights the complexities of balancing the need for justice and accountability with the potential harm it may cause to those impacted by the tragedy. The emotional toll on victims’ families and survivors must be prioritized and taken into consideration throughout the legal proceedings.

It remains to be seen how the reenactments will proceed in the civil lawsuit against Scot Peterson. The outcome of this case could potentially set a precedent for similar lawsuits involving school resource officers and their responsibilities during active-shooter situations. For now, the victims’ families and survivors continue to seek closure and justice for the loss they endured on that fateful day.

1 thought on “Florida Judge Allows Reenactment of Parkland School Shooting in Civil Lawsuit”

  1. The decision to allow a reenactment of the Parkland school shooting for a civil lawsuit raises concerns about the ethical boundary between seeking justice and potentially retraumatizing survivors and their families.


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