TAMARAC (CBSMiami) – Tamarac city commissioners weighed Monday night whether Commissioner Mike Gelin broke the city’s civility code when he criticized a BSO deputy at a meeting two weeks ago.
After comments from Gelin and input from more than two dozen people, commissioners ultimately decided not to pursue a reprimand of Gelin, indicating they are ready to put the two-week controversy behind them.
Gelin walked into the Tamarac City Commission chambers Monday night with all eyes on him, following his critical comments two weeks ago to Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Gallardo. A short time into the meeting Gelin made his first public comments about the controversy.
“I have received messages of hate, threats and the safety of my family has been compromised,” he said.
Gelin added that he believes he was wrongfully arrested by the deputy in 2015.
“I felt violated by the criminal justice system,” he added.
Video of the 2015 arrest obtained by CBS4 News last week shows deputies confronting Gelin as he recorded a crime scene. On the video, deputies asked Gelin to stop recording and move back. Gelin pushed the issue and deputies say he didn’t follow their commands. They arrested him for resisting an officer without violence. The video showed that several of the comments the deputy wrote in his arrest report were not on the video and Gelin was seen backing up during the confrontation. Broward prosecutors did not pursue the charges.
Gelin said it’s been a lifelong trauma.
“I have to explain a mugshot for the rest of my life as if I’m a criminal and I’m not,” Gelin said.
More than two dozen people spoke about the controversy which started when Gelin laid into Gallardo after he received a deputy of the month award. We’re told Gallardo asked to leave the BSO Tamarac district following the confrontation with Gelin.
“It’s good to see you again,” Gelin said during the last September 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.”
There were several who thought Gelin was out of line for making the comments at a city meeting.
“There is a difference between legitimate criticism of a deputy and using a platform of a city commission to embarrass, humiliate and berate that deputy,” said Neal Glassman, retired BSO captain of the Tamarac district.
“You chose to act in a way that brought shame, shock and disbelief to all who saw it,” said resident Patti Lynn.
Others thought Gelin displayed courage by speaking up about the issue of police misconduct.
“We are not anti-police. We are anti-police misconduct,” said local NAACP President Marsha Ellison. “We are anti-bad police who don’t do the right thing.”
“When you censor Mike, the rest of us will get seriously vocal,” said a black Tamarac resident who told a story of preparing her son for encounters with police. “Thank you, Mike for your courage.”
Gelin said he wants this to be a moment of change and urged community leaders to work with him to address concerns about policing in Tamarac.
“When it comes to our police and how they treat residents and visitors of our city I’d like to see some changes because every resident of Tamarac should feel safe and protected,” Gelin said.