Blunder-Prone Broward Mayor Claims Arrest Of “High Ranking” Law Enforcement Officer Is Imminent

Despite her numerous newsmaking blunders, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief loves basking in media spotlight. Her latest headline grabbing comments came last night on WPLG Local 10 News when Sharief declared an arrest would be made in the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport terror attack surveillance video leak investigation. Over the weekend, TMZ published a short clip of video showing Esteban Santiago shooting at passengers in Fort Lauderdale.

Sharief claimed the publication of the video could give rise to “copycats.” In an interview with Channel 10, Sharief claimed a “high ranking official” would soon face arrest for leaking the video. Sharief said the official was not in the FBI or Broward County government, implying some association with local law enforcement.

On Tuesday, Sharief did her best Sherlock Holmes impression, telling WFOR CBS 4 that a “reflection” in video revealed the uniform of the official.

For her sake, let’s hope this “high ranking” official is named soon. Sharief’s batting average on these investigative scoops is very poor.

Here are some of her greatest hits (incorrect statements in bold):

CNN The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer(1/6/17)

BARBARA SHARIEF, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, MAYOR: OK. At this time, Wolf, there has not been any updates in terms of what the motivation of the suspect is. What I can tell you is that there has been quite a bit of information that has been given out, and law enforcement right now is really concerned about misinformation, particularly with the identification of the suspect. They are reverifying that, because, at this point in time, there are some things about that that are not checking out.

BLITZER: Like what, for example? We want to be as accurate as possible, Mayor. Tell us what the problems are.

SHARIEF: In terms of the name itself, that may not be the appropriate or accurate information.

BLITZER: Really?

SHARIEF: Yes. So what they’re trying to do is identify and confirm that, yes, that is in fact the person that they do have in custody.I can tell you that he was taken alive. He is not injured. He did surrender to the personnel that was on scene during the shooting.

BLITZER: So, in other words, he may have had identification, some sort of I.D. identifying him as Esteban Santiago, formerly a member of the Alaskan National Guard, but it may be false I.D., he may actually be someone else? Is that what I’m hearing from you, Mayor?</em

CNN Anderson Cooper 360 (1/6/17)

COOPER: “I want to ask you, Mayor, about something you said on CNN earlier. I understand there are some things you can’t talk about. But I hear you mentioned this one to CNN earlier, that authorities were trying to re-verify the identity of the shooter. Have they been able to do that as far as you know? Is the shooter in fact this man who’s been identified?”

SHARIEF: Once the FBI took over the investigation they asked me not to comment on that any further. And so, they’re doing their due diligence at this time. What I can tell you is that we were told that that was not something that they were 100 percent sure of about all his identifying attributes and they are going to continue to investigate that.

CNN Don Lemon (1/6/17)

DON LEMON: Was there any sort of altercation on that flight from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale?

BARBARA SHARIEF: There were reports that there was some form of altercation with this gentleman on the flight and that it was de-escalated and there was no need for any further action.</em>

CNN Newsroom (1/7/17)

BROWN: “But do you know if he has been to Florida before? What his involvement has been in your state, in your city?”

SHARIEF: “In previous reports that I have been privy to and I’ve heard that they have said that he had some connections here in South Florida and that he had been here before.”

BROWN: “And I just want to recap as we wrap up this segment because I know you’re very busy, mayor. You had mentioned earlier that the gunman had visited the area before. Can you just tell us again what you know about that, his prior visits?”

SHARIEF: “The only thing that I can tell you is that they said that he had some contact here in terms of family members and that he had been here previously and in the past and in the recent past.

BROWN: “To Fort Lauderdale, specifically, correct?”

SHARIEF: “And the Miami area.

BROWN: “The Miami area. And you said the recent past and this is what law enforcement has told you, correct.”

SHARIEF: “Correct.”

Why Is Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief Disclosing Details About Fort Lauderdale Airport Attack Investigation?

Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief continues to disclose details regarding the investigation of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) attack. On Friday, Esteban Ruiz Santiago shot and killed 5 travelers in the baggage claim area of terminal two. Federal officials have charged Santiago with multiple felonies including murder. Santiago could face the death penalty.

In the criminal complaint, FBI agent Michael Ferlazzo provides details on Friday’s attack. Santiago flew on a one-way ticket from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale on Delta Airlines. His only luggage was a checked case containing the weapon he used to kill his victims. After he was arrested and received his Miranda warning, Santiago told investigators he retrieved his case, went to a bathroom stall and loaded his weapon. He placed his weapon in his waistband and exited the bathroom. At approximately 12:56pm, Santiago pulled his weapon and opened fire. 

According to the compliant, Santiago admitted to planning his attack. He said he reloaded his Walther 9mm handgun once. Santiago believes he fired fifteen rounds.
FBI agents Ferlazzo states video surveillance of the attack exists and will be reviewed by investigators.

And that’s it. The official criminal complaint contains no more details about the ongoing investigation.


On Sunday evening, Mayor Barbara Sharief revealed what appears to be a significant detail about the investigation to WSVN/Fox.  Sharief said, “I heard that there were…connections to south Florida. Not Fort Lauderdale specifically. They just said south Florida possibly Miami.” Sharief went on to say Santiago visited, “Close friends or family.” When asked if he visited friends or family, Sharief said, “I’m not sure.”

Why is Mayor Sharief saying anything if she’s “not sure.”

In a early morning tweet on Sunday, Sharief told REDBROWARD, “As Mayor of Broward’s 1.9 million residents & visitors I must keep them informed.”

But REDBROWARD reported how Sharief created massive confusion on Friday in an attempt to share information. 

Mayor Barbara Sharief repeatedly gave confusing information to CNN.  Around 6:00pm, Sharief told anchor Wolf Blitzer questions remained whether the suspect in custody was the real Esteban Santiago even though Senator Bill Nelson identified the suspect on MSNBC four hours earlier. A stunned Blitzer asked Sharief if CNN should stop referring to the suspect as Esteban Santiago.

During the eight o’clock hour, anchor Anderson Cooper referenced Sharief’s doubts in a conversation with a CNN reporter. When she joined Cooper, Mayor Sharief tried to claim she could no longer talk about it, but she again raised doubts. Finally, at 10pm, Sharief told anchor Don Lemon that the suspect was indeed Esteban Santiago. 
Hours before her Sunday television interview, Mayor Sharief blasted the release of video surveillance footage of the FLL attack. TMZ posted a short clip of the attack on its website. 

Sharief told the Associated Press, “Only a select number of people had access to this video….What’s troubling about this video being out there is we don’t want copycats.”

According to the Palm Beach Post, Sharief said the leak of the video was a “distraction” to federal and local officials investigators. “Our priority needs to be on the actual investigation,” Sharief said.

Somebody needs to tell Mayor Sharief that disseminating wrong information (twice) on the international airwaves of CNN is considered to be a major “distraction.” Imagine the level of distraction federal and local investigators face when Wolf Blitzer calls up to see if they have an impostor in custody.

As for “copycats,” it’s hard to think terrorists need a 30 second clip on TMZ to inspire their murderous acts. More troubling is notion that Sharief’s comments to WSVN may have tipped off Santiago’s “friends” that the FBI knows about them and the visits. Let’s hope they get their news from a competing station.

The best way Mayor Sharief can serve her 1.9 million Broward residents and visitors is to stay off the television and let law enforcement handle the investigation.

Sharief & LaMarca: Broward’s Not Ready For Prime Time Players