Almost a week after being arrested for perjury, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Robert Runcie has broken his silence on the accusation.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers arrested the 59-year-old Jamaican-born Superintendent last Wednesday.
Investigators accused Runcie of lying to a state grand jury while testifying under oath on March 31 and April 1. School Board General Counsel Barbara Myrick was also arrested and charged with disclosing the grand jury’s top secret proceedings.
According to the Associated Press, the charges stem from the January indictment of former Broward Schools technology chief Tony Hunter, who was charged with rigging contracts for technology equipment for the district. Runcie contacted witnesses in Hunter’s case to prepare for his own testimony, prosecutors said. Myrick also contacted witnesses and discussed them with Runcie before he testified, which helped form the basis of the charges against her, officials said.
In a video message released on April 27, Runcie thanked the individuals and organizations that have voiced their support for him following his arrest. He says that he has received support from political and business leaders, community and non-profit organizations, and religious leaders across the state.
On Friday, dozens of Caribbean-American and local political, faith, and business leaders gathered to pledge their support for Runcie. Among those in attendance were State Senator Perry Thurston, Jamaican-born Commissioner Dale Holness, Jamaican-American Mayor of Miramar, Wayne Messam, and prominent South Florida Jamaican businessman Basil Bernard.
In his statement on Tuesday, Runcie said: “Last week, after two days and many hours of testifying to the grand jury, I received an indictment. It accuses me of making a false statement. My attorneys released a statement publicly last week that included the following: “It is a sad day in Broward County and across Florida when politics become more important than the interests of our students. Superintendent Runcie has fully cooperated with law enforcement throughout this statewide grand jury process.”
The Superintendent says he is confident that he will be vindicated. He says he intends to continue to carry out his responsibilities as Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools with the highest level of integrity and moral standards, “as I’ve done for nearly 10 years”, he said.
Runcie says he looks forward to due process being followed, “where individuals are treated fairly through the normal judicial system. I will continue to be transparent with the board, with all of BCPS parents and with the entire community,” he said.
Runcie’s arraignment is set for May 12. His attorneys filed a motion last week to dismiss the charge.
If convicted of perjury, Robert Runcie faces up to five years in prison.