Florida city commissioner confronts deputy at awards ceremony over arrest

"You're a bad police officer and you don't deserve to be here," Tamarac City Commissioner Mike Gelin told Broward County Deputy Joshua Gallardo.
Image: E. Mike Gelin
Mike Gelin, a city commissioner in Tamarac, Florida, confronts Deputy Joshua Gallardo during a 'Deputy of the Year' ceremony.Tamarac City Commission

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By Minyvonne Burke

A South Florida city commissioner confronted a deputy at an awards ceremony honoring members of the Broward County Sheriff's Office for falsely arresting him four years ago.

The confrontation happened Wednesday at an Officer of the Month program at the Tamarac City Commission meeting. After Deputy Joshua Gallardo and others received their honors, Commissioner Mike Gelin is seen in a video grabbing the microphone and calling Gallardo back down to the floor.

"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 just nods his head, gives a thumbs-up sign and walks away after the commissioner finishes talking. Mayor Michelle Gomez then takes the microphone and thanks 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."

Gallardo arrested Gelin 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.

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Gelin was not a city commissioner at the time, and the charges were dropped. Tamarac is about 14 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Gomez 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 The labor union said it had withdrawn its endorsement of Gelin.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.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement Saturday on Facebook, Gelin thanked his supporters, writing: "Wrongful arrests can have life long and career altering consequences. It is important that justice applies to everyone."