“You’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here,” is what one South Florida city commissioner said to a deputy officer who was being awarded at a ceremony.
The confrontation happened Wednesday at an Officer of the Month program at the Tamarac City Commission meeting. After Deputy Joshua Gallardo and other officers received their awards, Commissioner Mike Gelin grabbed the microphone and called Gallardo back down to the floor where he confronted him for falsely arresting him four years ago.
“It’s good to see you again. You probably don’t remember me. But you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” Gelin says in a video obtained by NBC Miami. “You lied on the police report. I believe you are a rogue police officer, you’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here.”
Gallardo is seen slyly smiling and nodding his head before he gives a thumbs-up sign and walks away. Mayor Michelle Gomez ended the awkward moment by taking the microphone and thanking the sheriff’s office.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we appreciate as a whole BSO and everything you do for us,” Gomez says. “Thank you for your service to our community. We appreciate you. Please take that away from here today.”
Gelin was responding to Gallardo arresting him back in July 2015 for allegedly resisting and obstructing without violence, according to NBC Miami. Gelin had allegedly recorded police as they responded to a battery incident, the Miami Herald reported. However, the charges were later dropped.
Meanwhile, the Mayor and the Broward County Police Benevolent Association have publicly criticized Gelin for confronting the deputy at the ceremony.
“As a public official, Commissioner Gelin’s behavior towards a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is unacceptable,” PBA president Rod Skirvin said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The labor union has since withdrawn their endorsement of Gelin.
“The Broward County PBA will not endorse any elected official who treats law enforcement officers with a complete lack of respect and common courtesy the way Commissioner Gelin did in his official duties representing the city of Tamarac,” Skirvin said.
Gomez said in a statement Saturday that Gelin’s comments were “highly inappropriate.”
“This was neither the time nor the forum to air personal grievances. I believe this clearly violated the City’s civility code,” she said. “This is NOT the way we treat employees or people who work for our City. There are proper channels to follow, but the Commissioner chose not to use them.”
The mayor said she has talked with the city attorney about what actions can be taken and thanked Gallardo for handling the situation in a “professional way.”
“I speak for the City of Tamarac when I say that we have the utmost respect for BSO and the Deputies who put their lives on the line each day to safeguard our community,” Gomez said.
Fellow Tamarac Commissioner Julie Fishman said in a Facebook post that Gelin should have confronted the deputy in private.
“One of the most important ideas of being an elected official is conducting oneself with dignity and in an ethical manner; not using the office you are in for personal gain or personal use,” she wrote.
Gelin released a statement Saturday on Facebook where he thanked his supporters:
“Wrongful arrests can have life long and career-altering consequences. It is important that justice applies to everyone.”