Tampa Lawmaker’s Aide Fired After Claiming Parkland Students Are Actors
The claim was made in an email to a reporter.
TAMPA – An aide to State Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, was fired Tuesday (Feb. 20) after state officials learned the man had emailed a reporter claiming two Parkland students were actors.
Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, announced the firing of Benjamin Kelly in a tweet: “I was shocked and angry to read the appalling email about the brave students who traveled to Tallahassee today. Representative
@Shawnfor63 immediately contacted me and with his full support, I terminated the employment of the individual responsible.”
In a second tweet, Corcoran said,”On behalf of the entire Florida House, I sincerely apologize to the students targeted and again commend them for their courage through this unspeakable tragedy.”
Harrison sent out two tweets about the matter. The first said, “I was just made aware that my aide made an insensitive and inappropriate allegation about Parkland students today. I have spoken to him and placed him on leave until we determine an appropriate course of action. I do not share his opinion and he did so without my knowledge.”
An hour later, Harrison sent out this tweet: “Tonight Mr. Kelly was terminated from his position as my District Secretary. I am appalled at and strongly denounce his comments about the Parkland students. I am again sorry for any pain this has caused the grieving families of this tragedy.”
Kelly sent out his own tweet about 7 p.m.: “I’ve been terminated from the State House. I made a mistake whereas I tried to inform a reporter of information relating to his story regarding a school shooting. This was not my responsibility. I meant no disrespect to the students or parents of Parkland.”
Kelly’s Twitter page, @benakelly has since been made private.
Some Parkland students who survived last week’s murder of 17 classmates set out for Tallahassee on Tuesday to consider gun control legislation. However, the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives voted down a motion to consider a ban on assault rifles.
Shawn Harrison | Benjamin Kelly | Richard Corcoran | Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School | Gun Control | Assault Weapons | Tampabay News
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