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A Florida Official Confronted A Police Officer During An Awards Ceremony For "Falsely Arresting" Him

"You probably don't remember me, but you're the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago," Mike Gelin told a sheriff's deputy. The officer's union called it an "insult."

Posted on September 28, 2019, at 5:12 p.m. ET

TamaracTalk/YouTube / Via

A Florida city commissioner confronted the sheriff deputy who arrested him in 2015 during a ceremonial event honoring the officer, and a clip of the interaction spread quickly around social media.

Tamarac Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin — who goes by his middle name — called out Broward sheriff deputy Joshua Gallardo on Wednesday at an event where the officer was named deputy of the month.

"Joshua Gallardo, will you come down for a second? It's good to see you again," Gelin said, bringing the officer back to the front of the room then pressing him on an incident that occurred between them in 2015.

"You probably don't remember me, but you're the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago," Gelin said. "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."

View this video on YouTube

The Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association called the incident an "insult" and said anyone who does business with Gelin should "reconsider" doing so.

Jeff Bell, the union's president, said, “it is outrageous that Commissioner Gelin acted in an official capacity to berate a Deputy who was just recognized for apprehending a known gang member wanted for homicide who has previously been deported.” Gallardo couldn't be reached for comment.

According to a copy of the arrest records obtained by BuzzFeed News, Gelin was arrested by Gallardo on July 18, 2015, at approximately 2:39 p.m.

Gallardo said in the probable cause affidavit that when he arrived at the scene of the incident near a Salvation Army store, he saw a "victim of a battery" who was bleeding from both ears and the back of the skull. While tending to the wounded person, Gallardo wrote that a man wearing a blue shirt and blue shorts — who he later identified as Gelin — approached the officer from behind while recording the incident on a phone.

"I advised the black male to move back, that this is a crime scene," Gallardo wrote, according to the document. "He advised he was recording the incident and that he did not have to move."

Gallardo said he told Gelin — who at that point wasn't an elected official — that if he were to continue to record that he would need to move to a bushy area nearby to make way for emergency services when they came. When Gelin did not comply after being "repeatedly" told to move back, per the report, Gallardo then arrested him for "resisting without violence" and he was transported to jail.

Courtesy of Darryl Nobles of Dream Focus Photography

Gelin told BuzzFeed News that he never approached the officer from behind — that "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 he thinks Gallardo singled him out because he was recording, and that there were probably about 15 other people in the area who weren't told to move.

The state attorney later didn't pursue charges against Gelin.

Gelin told BuzzFeed News he spoke up in the moment at the meeting because the arrest "profoundly affected" him.

"It was a traumatizing experience that was played out many times in my head," he said. "I had a flashback and so I spoke up."

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Gelin's comments were not received well by onlookers at the ceremony.

Michelle Gomez, the mayor of Tamarac, told the outlet that the event "was supposed to be an all-smiles day," adding that she initially assumed 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."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.