The South Florida city councilman who called a Broward County sheriff's deputy a "rogue officer" is getting slammed on his personal Facebook page by outraged Americans demanding he step down for daring to call out the deputy during his day of glory.
After all, they say, it just wasn't appropriate to confront Broward County sheriff's deputy Joshua Gallardo about an old arrest as he was receiving a "Deputy of the Month" award for April for arresting a man who wanted wanted on an international murder warrant.
Here are just a few examples of what they are saying about Tamarac City Councilman Mike Gelin on his Facebook page.
But in a written statement emailed to Photography is Not a Crime, Gelin said he has no regrets because Gallardo arrested him unlawfully in 2015 for recording in public. And when he complained to internal affairs, Gallardo was never disciplined even though prosecutors acknowledged the video evidence did not support the deputy's written account of what had taken place that day.
I was profoundly affected by my wrongful arrest and the fact that nothing was done about it, made it even worse. It was a traumatizing experience that I have played out in my head many times. I had a flashback and a flood of emotions came to me at the meeting and so, I spoke up.
Gelin was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest which is a common charge used by Florida cops when arresting people for recording in public. CBS Miami obtained a memo from the Broward County State Attorney's Office explaining why it did not prosecute the city councilman.
The case that upset Gelin occurred several years ago. Public records show that in 2015, Deputy Gallardo arrested Gelin for resisting arrest without violence while the deputy was investigating a separate case involving a person who was battered. The arrest report says the deputy “advised the (Gelin) to move back, that this was a crime scene. He advised that he was recording the incident and that he did not have to move.”
The deputy wrote in the arrest report that Gelin “failed to comply with my commands to move from the area. I repeatedly requested that he leave the area and and not continue to approach me from behind.”
Gelin was arrested.
Later, Broward prosecutors dropped the case after they viewed Gelin’s cellphone video of the encounter saying “it has been determined a strong likelihood of conviction is not present as images in the video do not support conviction.”
A closeout memo from prosecutors said the comments that Gelin was said in the report to have made “were not observed to have been made by either party.” However, the memo says “the audio from the video footage is sometimes inaudible.”
In his written statement, Gelin gave his own account of what took place the day he was arrested.
On July 18, 2015, I saw a fight break out between two homeless men. I, along with one other person, went to break up the fight. Before we could get there, one man was hit in the head with a bottle and he fell to the ground bleeding.
One men was trying to stop the bleeding and already helping. I took out my phone to record, thinking that if he died at least his family could see that he was cared for in his last moments. Two police officers arrived on the scene.
Although people asked them to render aid, they explained why they could not. They both saw me videotaping with my phone and they did not say anything to me. People started asking and yelling a bit, as the man was in pain, for them to call for an ambulance. They informed us that they had already called. Then, a third officer arrived on the scene, Officer Gallardo. When he saw me taping, he singled me out and told me to stop. I asked him why and said that I had a right to video. He then told me that I had to step back to the hedges. I started walking backward towards the hedges, as I did not want to turn my back to him because he was following me. He asked me why I wasn’t complying and why I was following him. As I had the camera on him, I said that I am complying and he was the one following me. I then asked why he wasn’t asking everyone else to move back and he arrested me. I never interfered with him and I never followed him. I was publicly humiliated, handcuffed, placed in the police car, fingerprinted, booked, and placed in jail. As a result, I have a mugshot all over the internet, as if I am a criminal.
The State declined to file the charges on August 6, 2015 because my lawyer shared the video and it proved that the statements made in the police report were untrue.
But since his comments last week, the union for the Broward Sheriff's Office withdrew its endorsement of him from 2018.
According to Law Enforcement Today:
The officer was being honored for catching a murderer. A criminal city commissioner decided to interrupt the ceremony to attack the officer. Now that “leader” is in hot water with the mayor, the city, the media, the PBA, and just about everyone else.
The Broward County Police Benevolent Association has officially pulled their endorsement of a city commissioner after he interrupted an award ceremony to take out a personal vendetta against an officer who had arrested him four years ago. The mayor has also weighed in with disgust (statement below).
The PBA published a photo to Instagram officially pulling their support for Commissioner Mike Gelin on Thursday after he publicly chastised the officer.
Gelin was elected in 2018 but he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2014, a year before his arrest. When interviewed by the South Florida Sun Sentinel that year, he was asked if he had ever been arrested and he replied, "I have never been arrested or charged with a crime."
Gelin has not released the video from his arrest. Read his full statement here.