What was supposed to be a commending and honorable event for some Tamarac police officers ended in rather controversial circumstances after one of the officers was called out by a black commissioner for an encounter between the two about four years ago.
According to BuzzFeed News, Tamarac Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin singled out Broward sheriff deputy Joshua Gallardo and accused him of wrongfully arresting him and lying about it during an event on Wednesday where Gallardo was named deputy of the month.
“Joshua Gallardo, will you come down for a second? It’s good to see you again,” Gelin started after Gallardo received the award.
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“You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” he added. “You lied on the police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here.”
With onlookers astounded as they thought Gelin was going to congratulate him, Gallardo responded to the accusation with a thumbs-up.
Gallardo and Gelin’s incident in question occurred on July 18, 2015, where the former was responding to an assault incident, according to a copy of the arrest records obtained by BuzzFeed News.
As Gallardo was attending to the assault victim, he claimed Gelin approached him from behind and started recording the incident.
“I advised the black male to move back, that this is a crime scene,” Gallardo wrote in the probable cause affidavit. “He advised he was recording the incident and that he did not have to move.”
Gallardo added that he subsequently arrested Gelin after he failed to comply to his order to move to another place to allow enough space for emergency services when they arrived.
Gelin was arrested and charged with “resisting without violence.” The charges were, however, eventually dropped.
Narrating the incident to BuzzFeed News, Gelin was adamant he did not approach Gallardo from behind.
“It would not benefit me to be behind him. I would need to be in full view of the victim I’m recording,” he said, adding that his arrest was as a result of Gallardo having an issue with him recording.
“It was a traumatizing experience that was played out many times in my head,” Gelin said. “I had a flashback and so I spoke up.”
Speaking to the Sun-Sentinel, Tamarac mayor Michelle Gomez, who was present at the event, said it “was supposed to be an all-smiles day,” adding that she thought Gelin “had something nice to say.”
“I was embarrassed,” Gomez said. “We were all shocked. Nobody expected this. It was a nice event to honor our BSO, our deputies.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association also released a statement condemning Gelin’s actions and called on “all businesses associated with Gelin’s employee benefits company and those who use his lobbyist services to reconsider doing business” with him.
Take a look at the incident below: