A Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy was suspended this week after security footage of the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooter was leaked to the press.
Deputy Michael Dingman, 46, was suspended with pay while the sheriff’s office investigates the leak. He’s accused of disclosing confidential criminal justice information and misconduct, according to an internal affairs memo released Tuesday.
On Sunday, TMZ published security footage showing the alleged gunman, Esteban Santiago, fire his first shots at the airport. He would go on to kill five people and wound another six.
Warning: GRAPHIC VIDEO
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel noted Tuesday that it’s still early in the investigation and it’s unclear whether Dingman contravened policy.
I’m not saying he did or didn’t do anything wrong,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told the Sun Sentinel on Tuesday. He was, however, extremely upset about the leak.
“I’m disgusted and appalled to think that, in general, anyone in law enforcement may have been involved in such a despicable event: Making a video, especially such a graphic video that is part of evidence, taking a video that is not any deputy’s property, to distribute to anybody,” he said.
The office is looking into whether TMZ or any other outlet paid Dingman for the footage. TMZ, which often pays big money for sought-after photos and video, didn’t respond to calls for comment Thursday. It’s unclear whether TMZ received the footage directly from Dingman, but investigators were looking into a reflection that shows someone filming the security footage on their phone.
On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said that Dingman was hired in 1996 and receives an annual salary of $75,673. He was reprimanded last year over a 2011 incident in which he accessed information on a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was being harassed for ticketing another officer for speeding.
The sheriff’s office declined to give further details on the suspension, citing an ongoing investigation.