Don’t look for a quick post-election truce between the political parties, at least in Broward County.
A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy’s offer to carry one of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ bags after she got off a plane in Fort Lauderdale has drawn the ire of one of the nation’s top Republicans.
It happened Thursday night.
Wasserman Schultz, of Weston, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was on the same flight back home as Sharon Day, of Fort Lauderdale, the co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. (That’s the Republicans’ No. 2 spot.)
Day said two BSO deputies were on hand. This was what ensued, Day said by email:
“As they walked with her carrying her bag I asked ‘is it appropriate for Broward County Sheriff officers to be carrying people's luggage instead of protecting people at the airport.’ The Officer on left said ‘if we want to.’
“I asked again ‘if it was appropriate and as a Broward County taxpayer I did not think it was appropriate and they were paid to protect us and the airport not carry people's baggage.’ The officer on the right looked at me and stated ‘don't be a hater.’ I responded ‘I'm not a hater...I am a taxpayer and I don't find it appropriate. You are paid to keep us safe not carry luggage.’ His response again was ‘yes, you are a hater...don't be a hater.’ He then stated again and again ‘Don't be a hater...don't be a hater.’
“I don't find it appropriate for our Broward County Sheriff Officers on airport duty to carry luggage for whom they want to and I don't think it is appropriate for them to be disrespectful to the people that pay their salaries like me - a taxpayer. By the way...I'm not a hater!”
[The ellipses are Day’s; nothing was edited out of her email.]
Here’s a response from Chief Roy Liddicott, BSO's commander at the airport, about whether deputies should carry bags and if their ability to respond to an emergency would be compromised:
“We quite often are requested to provide security for a number of individuals that travel through FLL for a variety of reasons and do so.
“No personnel here are required and/or expected to ever carry anybody's bags but if they choose to do so that is their choice. Personnel here can be seen quite often assisting travelers (not even those we have been asked to provide extra security for) through the facility in a number of ways that may include carrying their bags, helping them load their cars, etc.
“And as far as occupying their hands impairing their ability to respond, they carefully assess each situation and act accordingly knowing their limitations and abilities to respond as necessary.”
Here's a response from Jonathan Beeton, communications director for Wasserman Schultz:
"The BSO officer kindly offered to help the Congresswoman with one of her bags.
“It is a shame that someone would attack a polite gesture simply because they disagree with the Congresswoman’s politics.”
Finally, here's the take from Greg Meyer, spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, who said said he’s been around many times when Wasserman Schultz has arrived there:
"She has never asked me, nor have I ever seen her ask a deputy, to carry anything for her.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun