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Broward sheriff disputes pushing injured deputy out

Last year during the campaign, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti had some nice photo opps with Deputy Maury Hernandez who survived a bullet to the head while on the job in 2007.

When Hernandez visited a BSO office last summer, Lamberti joked with him "ready to get working on those case files?'' the Herald reported.

But when -- or if -- Hernandez will return to work is no laughing matter now. When Hernandez met with BSO officials Aug. 5, they gave him one option: disability, said his attorney Lance Block. Hernandez has some brain damage and motor impairment but wants to return to work at BSO in some capacity. El Nuevo columnist Daniel Shoer Roth, who wrote about Hernandez on Monday, quoted Jose Pepe Lopez who said that this would not sit well with Hispanics who supported Lamberti's campaign. That led to more media coverage -- and on Friday a reponse from Lamberti.

"I would like to clear up some published reports that our agency does not want Deputy Hernandez to return to duty and we are leaning on him to retire,'' Lamberti wrote in an email to employees. "We all love and respect Maury and want what is best for him. In a recent meeting with Maury, our benefits people outlined for him the benefits of a guaranteed-for-life disability pension.''

But that's not the only option, Lamberti wrote.

"I am presenting to him and his family all the possibilities and we are not going to mandate which one he chooses.''

A BSO spokeswoman declined to elaborate. Block said Friday that BSO has not offered other ''possibilities.''

"They are playing word games,'' he said.