The president of a Florida Fraternal Order of Police chapter has been suspended from the sheriff's office he worked for after using the chapter's Facebook page to encourage officers from departments that have recently faced excessive use of force accusations to apply in the state.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey announced Tuesday that he has suspended Lt. Bert Gamin as the department investigated posts Gamin made on the Brevard Fraternal Order of Police Facebook page over the weekend that sparked outrage from residents and local law enforcement agencies.
“I’m embarrassed by it. I’m infuriated by it, and I’m having it investigated," Ivey said.
In one now-deleted Facebook post, Gamin wrote: “Hey Buffalo 57 and Atlanta 6 we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences. Plus we got your back!”
In a second post, Gamin encouraged officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, where four officers are facing charges in the death of George Floyd, to come work in Florida. “Minneapolis officers we WILL NOT disband our LE agencies or give in. we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, no conflicting orders or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences. Plus we got your back!" Gamin wrote.
In Atlanta, two officers were fired and face criminal charges after video showed them using stun guns on two college students pulled from a car that was in traffic during a large protest. Four other officers were placed on desk duty.
In Buffalo, New York, dozens of police officers stepped down from the department’s crowd control unit last week, objecting to the suspensions of two fellow officers in the shoving of a 75-year-old protester who fell and injured his head.
Gamin is the president of the Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police and has worked at the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for more than 25 years.
In announcing Gamin's suspension, Ivey said the posts "did not, not only represent our agency views, didn't represent my views and it didn't represent the other law enforcement agency’s views who have also had to deal with the backlash of his comments."
"I shared with him, I can't even use the term disappointment because that does not qualify enough to say how I felt," Ivey said.
He added that the Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police doesn't even have recruitment responsibilities, making the posts even more pointless.
Gamin is suspended with pay, per policy, but after the investigation, Ivey said he would make a decision on his employment. He added that Gamin had been "talked to" before about his actions on social media.
On Monday, Ivey said in a statement that the Brevard County F.O.P. had no affiliation with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, nor with another association that represents the department.
Gamin had apologized that day. "In my recent FB post, I let my emotions and frustration get the better of me as a result of all the continually negative media portrayals of law enforcement. My intent was to respond to some of the negative messaging and offer a supportive message to all the men and women in law enforcement. Clearly, I failed doing so," he wrote, according to NBC affiliate WESH.
Gamin, before his suspension, was responsible for some patrol duties.
Attorney Alton Edmond, a community leader who helped organize a March for Justice rally over the weekend that drew more than 3,000 people, has called for Gamin to be fired.
"My reaction is simple. I look at those posts and I see a dog whistle for brutalizers and people who should not be in law enforcement. I would call for his resignation. I would call for his termination," Edmond said.