MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Wednesday morning, Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Gallardo received a Deputy of the Month award at a Tamarac City Commission along with a number of other deputies. But after the photos were taken and the handshakes ended from the feel-good moment, City Commissioner Mike Gelin dropped a bombshell.
“Joshua Gallardo can you come down for a second,” Gelin said from the front of the commission chambers.
“It’s good to see you again,” Gelin told Gallardo, as Gallardo approached the front. “You probably don’t remember me but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago. You lied on a police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer, you’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here.”
With that, Gallardo walked away. People in the room were stunned at the comments as Mayor Michelle J. Gomez tried to smooth things over.
“We appreciate as a whole BSO and everything you do for us,” Gomez said.
But the damage was done. BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony came to Tamarac on Wednesday to meet with Gelin.
“The venue and the comments and the way they were presented in a public setting was inappropriate,” Tony said.
Tony said his meeting with Gelin was productive.
“We talked to him about it, about how I was disappointed with his behavior and it was unacceptable,” Tony said. “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.”
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.”
Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez said she was stunned by Gelin’s comments. She added that she is looking into whether Gelin’s comments broke the city’s civility code. That could possibly lead, Gomez said, to Gelin’s censure, suspension or even possible removal by the Governor.
“We have to look at the teeth in our civility code and see what we have available,” Gomez said.
She also said that Gelin’s comments do not represent the feelings of the Tamarac City Commission.
“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 said.
Gallardo received the award Wednesday for arresting a man wanted for a murder in El Salvador. BSO said Gallardo pulled a man over on a traffic stop in April and when he ran the man’s name, he found that there was an international warrant for the man’s arrest. BSO said the suspect was arrested after a brief struggle. After the criticism from Gelin in front of the commission chambers, Gallardo walked away, without saying a word. He just gave a thumbs up.
CBS4 News tried to interview Gelin for this story but he declined. He did share his thoughts over text and said, “I had a productive meeting with Sheriff Tony yesterday afternoon and we will move forward in a positive and constructive manner.”
Gelin also told CBS4 News that he knows he did nothing wrong on the day of his arrest.
CBS4 News asked Gelin over text why he chose a public forum to bring up his feelings about the deputy from an arrest four years ago. Gelin did not answer that question.