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Florida deputy is suspended in TMZ video investigation

Larry Barszewski and Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Broward Sheriff's Office has suspended a veteran deputy as officials investigate the secret videotaping of security footage of the recent airport shooting, which was given to TMZ.com.

Deputy Michael Dingman, 46, who is based at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, was suspended with pay Tuesday. He has been a Broward deputy for 21 years.

"I'm not saying he did or didn't do anything wrong," Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Tuesday. "Based on all the information available to me, the correct move, the direction I chose to go in, is to suspend a deputy with pay as the investigation continues."

Israel said investigators are still looking at whether anyone was paid for the tape.

"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.

Dingman surrendered his badge and patrol car as part of his suspension. He's alleged to have disclosed or used confidential criminal justice information, according to an internal affairs memo. The memo also alleges Dingman did not use proper discretion and that his conduct was unbecoming of a deputy.

Officials think someone used a cellphone to tape the footage of shooting suspect Esteban Santiago as he pulled a gun from his waistband at the Terminal 2 baggage carousel and began firing on Friday. Five people died in the ambush and six were wounded.

FBI and county investigators have been enhancing the video because they were seeing a person's image reflected in the glass of the security monitor, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief said.

The TMZ website is known to pay thousands to sources for videos of high-interest topics.

Records show that Dingman had an annual salary of $72,735 in 2015 and earned a total of $117,280 with overtime and special detail payments.

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