Tamarac, FL – A Broward sheriff’s deputy who was publicly accosted by a Tamarac city commissioner during an awards ceremony on Wednesday morning took the high road by refusing to respond to the commissioner’s brazen attack (video below).
Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Gallardo was the recipient of a Deputy of the Month award during the Tamarac city commission meeting for his role in apprehending an illegal alien with an international murder warrant out of El Salvador, WFOR reported.
He and other deputies shook hands with city leaders and posed for photographs before Tamarac City Commissioner Mike Gelin suddenly grabbed the microphone and called Deputy Gallardo back to the front of the room, Tamarac Talk reported.
The interaction was captured by a camera inside Tamarac City Hall.
“It’s good to see you again,” Gelin told the unsuspecting deputy as he approached. “You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago.”
“You lied on the police report,” the commissioner declared. “I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here.”
Deputy Gallardo flashed the commissioner a thumbs-up, then wordlessly walked away, the video showed.
The commissioners stood idly by as Gelin handed the microphone off to Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez, who made an unsuccessful attempt to smooth things over.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we appreciate, as a whole, the [sheriff’s office] and everything that you do for us,” Gomez said. “Thank you for your service to our community. We appreciate you. Please take that away from here today.”
Her comments were met with weak, scattered applause, after which Gelin abruptly walked away.
He didn’t return for the rest of the meeting, Tamarac Talk reported.
Later that day, Gelin attempted to comment at the end of a public budget hearing, but his colleagues refused to acknowledge him, according to the paper.
Commissioner Julie Fishman later blasted Gelin on Facebook for stripping the moment of appreciation and praise away from Deputy Gallardo, Tamarac Talk reported.
“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,” Fishman said.
Gomez later said she was “completely shocked” by Gelin’s verbal attack on Deputy Gallardo, WPLG reported.
“This was not something we were expecting," the mayor said. "It was supposed to be a wonderful morning. We were giving the awards for the BSO deputies of the month. It was supposed to be a feel-good time."
Gomez said that she is looking into the city’s civility code to determine whether or not Gelin’s comments were a violation, WFOR reported.
If they were, the commissioner could face censure, suspension, or potential removal from office by the governor.
Gomez stressed that Gelin’s views are not reflective of the rest of the commissioners’ beliefs.
“That’s one person’s personal experience and grudge that was unfortunately laid out in a public forum, an inappropriate forum in my opinion,” she told WFOR.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony traveled to Tamarac later the same day to meet with Gelin about the issue, and said they had a productive conversation.
“The venue and the comments and the way they were presented in a public setting was inappropriate,” Sheriff Tony told WFOR. “We talked to him about it, about how I was disappointed with his behavior and it was unacceptable. Surprisingly, the commissioner was very receptive to it and understand he could have took a different approach and we’re gonna work together to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
Deputy Gallardo arrested Gelin in 2015 after Gelin allegedly refused to move away from the scene of an assault, despite repeated requests from the officer, WPLG reported.
“[Gelin] failed to comply with my commands to move from the area,” Deputy Gallardo’s report read, according to WFOR. “I repeatedly requested that he leave the area and not continue to approach me from behind.”
The resisting arrest without violence charge against Gelin was ultimately dropped.
"When I shared my video with the state attorney's office to prove that I did nothing wrong, they declined to file charges against me," Gelin told WPLG.
During an interview in 2018, the commissioner said he was “traumatized” by his encounter with Deputy Gallardo, Tamarac Talk reported.
On Thursday, the Broward County Police Benevolent Association (BCPBA) announced it has withdrawn its endorsement of Gelin, according to WTVJ.
"As a public official, Commissioner Gelin's behavior towards a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy is unacceptable," BCPBA President Rod Skirvin said in a statement.
"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 added.
You can watch footage of the commissioner accosting Deputy Gallardo in the video below: