TAMARAC (CBSMiami) – On July 18, 2015, Mike Gelin pulled out his cellphone and recorded three minutes of video of uniformed Broward Sheriff’s deputies standing over a battery victim laying on the ground on Commercial Boulevard. Two men in civilian clothes were on the ground tending to the victim.
At some point one of the deputy’s noticed Gelin recording and told him to stop and move back.
“Are you recording right now?” a deputy said.
“Yeah,” said Gelin.
“Turn it off,” the deputy replied.
“Why?” said Gelin.
“It’s a violation of HIPAA law. He’s actually injured,” a deputy said. “Please leave.”
Gelin didn’t leave and he didn’t stop recording. He continued asking questions.
“He’s a victim,” said a deputy. “He’s a victim right now. You want to leave?”
“I’m watching,” said Gelin.
“You want to leave the area?” a deputy asked.
“I’m watching,” Gelin said. “I want to make sure he’s getting taken care of.”
Then, the video shows that things escalated.
“What’s the rule? Is there a rule about that?” Gelin asked.
“We don’t want you right here if I’m attending him,” a deputy said.
“OK. You’re not attending him. What are you doing? You’re not attending him. What are you doing?” Gelin said.
“Sir, right now I’m gonna ask you again. On the other side of that hedge,” a deputy said.
“Why? Why do I have to go to the other side?” Gelin asked.
At that point a deputy mentioned the word “obstruction.” The deputy standing directly in front of Gelin, presumably Joshua Gallardo, his face is not seen, said, “You’re gonna get arrested for obstruction.”
Gelin asked how he was obstructing.
“‘Cause I’m asking you to go to the other side,” the deputy said. “I don’t want you approaching me.”
“I’m not approaching you,” Gelin said. “You approached me.”
The video shows Gelin moving backwards and as he walks away he asks, “What about everybody else?” referring to at least one other bystander who was standing near the man on the ground and did not appear to be moved by deputies.
The cellphone stops recording a short time later. Court records show Gallardo arrested Gelin and charged him with obstructing without violence. But prosecutors declined to pursue charges saying the video evidence did not support a likely conviction.
In the police report from the arrest, Deputy Gallardo wrote “I advised him he could continue to record but that he would have to move back behind the bushes…” But on the video released to CBS4 you never hear the deputy say that. You do, however, hear a deputy tell Gelin to turn off his cellphone. Deputies also clearly believed that Gelin was being uncooperative.
Still, the issue is how Gelin confronted the deputy during a moment of recognition at city hall. It’s led to national media coverage of the comments and angry posts about Gelin on the city of Tamarac’s Facebook page. Last week, at a Tamarac City Commission meeting, Deputy Gallardo received an award for arresting an international murder suspect.
After the ceremony, Gelin brought up what occurred in 2015.
“It’s good to see you again,” Gelin said during the meeting. “You probably don’t remember me but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me 4 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.”
Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez said she was shocked by the comments and that the city is looking into holding Gelin accountable, which could lead to censure or suspension, she said.
On Friday, the city is expected to produce its agenda for its next meeting on Monday, which could include an item to discuss Gelin’s comments.
Gelin told CBS4 News that he had a productive meeting with Sheriff Tony after the comments. Gelin also said “(Tony) agreed to have another internal affairs investigator review the case.”
However, Tony disputed that saying, “At no time during our conversation did I say I would open an internal affairs investigation. I have had the opportunity to thoroughly review this matter, and I am confident that Deputy Gallardo acted appropriately.”