Several weeks ago, we told you about Mike Gelin, the city commissioner from Tamarac, Florida that verbally attacked a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy at an awards ceremony where the officer was being honored for catching a murderer (original story below).
There have been multiple articles written, from LET to the New York Times. The Commissioner, the mayor and the officer have all received threatening emails.
In an interview with the Sun-Sentinel, Gelin was asked if he had any regrets.
“No regrets,” he said. “I sleep well at night.”
In essence, Gelin is saying that he is fine with defaming and slandering a cop. Never mind that he has lied in the face of this.
He told the New York Times that he spoke with Sheriff Tony and the Sheriff agreed to reopen the investigation. Tony has emphatically denies making that concession.
“I have had the opportunity to thoroughly review this matter, and I am confident that Deputy Gallardo acted appropriately,” Sheriff Tony said, referring to the 2015 arrest.
Next, he told the Sun-Sentinel that his degradation of Gallardo was spur of the moment and not something he planned.
But there are indications from some that Gelin was not going to be in attendance until he saw Gallardo’s name on the agenda.
Gelin made an appointment with the paper to show them the cell video that would exonerate him. He cancelled that appointment, but rescheduled. He cancelled two more times in fact.
The paper was finally able to obtain the video through the prosecutor’s office.
Upon review of that video, it only appears to corroborate Deputy Gallardo’s report.
Monday evening, the City held a Commissioner’s meeting. One of the agenda items was a public censure of Mr. Gelin. While the mayor did not have the support necessary to gain an official censure, here was her statement during the meeting.
Because we operate under Sunshine Laws, this is our first opportunity to discuss this as a Commission.
This item is on the agenda at my request because the past two weeks have been painful for our City and the people who care about it most. And, we must find a way to move forward.
I continue to vehemently disagree, and will always disagree, with the time, place and approach that Commissioner Gelin used in expressing his complaint. And that is the only issue for us tonight.
We have been subjected to a wave of negative national publicity and ridicule on social media, while also being the focal point of angry debate.
It is time for this to stop.
While the media has chosen to focus on injustices in the judicial system, for us the key issue is something quite different: adhering to the higher standards of conduct called for from our elected officials.
The Commissioner’s actions placed our BSO deputies in an unfairly harsh light – and at an event where we gathered to celebrate and honor public servants who earned those accolades with their actions. Our police deserve much better.
No one – much less an elected leader of our City – should knowingly put Tamarac in the position of having its reputation damaged by attracting the kind of negative attention we’ve seen with this incident.
Commissioner Gelin, we know that this is a deeply personal issue for you. But it could have been brought to light in a different way, in a different place and at a different time. Even just a few minutes later in Commission reports.
Instead, once again in our country and now in Tamarac, the heat of angry argument has overwhelmed the light of reasoned, productive discussion that we all aspire to in our community.
My concern is the conduct and actions of the people who serve Tamarac from these Chambers. Our Code of Ethics is very clear and, while I won’t go through each point in detail, I will focus on item number 12. That says:
(12) Each public officer agrees to be honest, fair, and respectful to others in performing his or her duties as a public officer and agrees to refrain from and avoid conduct creating an appearance of impropriety or which is otherwise unbefitting a public officer, including but not limited to making false accusations or personal attacks against another public officer, or behaving in a rancorous or contentious manner.
When this Code of Ethics is violated, we as an elected body have few options. In fact, the only one we have is public censure. And what is public censure? It’s a formal statement of disapproval. The comments of the other members of the Commission tonight certainly fit into that category.
As mayor, I will not knowingly take actions that I believe will harm Tamarac in the long run. So, in the best interests of our City, it is time to move on and move forward. And that’s what I call for tonight.
Based on feedback from the community, I have spoken with Representatives Omphroy, Williams, Daley, and Jenne. All are ready to help us work on legislation to:
Aid in the removal of mugshots from the internet and public record, after records have been expunged or charges dropped, and
Prevent mugshots from becoming public record until the filing of a case or 90 days
Will this be a “be all and end all”? No, but it will start the process moving forward. And, together, we can build on that.
And, for the good of the City that I’ve lived in and loved for almost 26 years, I ask that we return to reason and work together to begin the healing.
We can be different here. We are different here. Tamarac can stand for something better, for working together on the toughest problems in a respectful manner.
We can model locally what we are so starved to see from our leaders nationally: respectful and dignified dialogue on issues that require inner stamina to listen to perspectives that we may viscerally disagree with, and yet stay in conversation to positively impact the current situation.
To learn from one another. To walk a mile in another’s shoes.
But let these chambers always be a place of safety, where people can come together to celebrate successes as well as hash out tough issues and walk away with mutual respect and understanding.
All leaders make mistakes; good leaders learn from their mistakes.
I’ve continuously said a statement that a Gentleman stated tonight — “Unity in Community” and that is what we must strive for — unity in our Community.
As we have heard from everyone tonight, let’s learn from this and move forward.
Here’s the full original back story, in case you missed it:
It’s an unbelievable story out of Tamarac, Florida where a city commissioner verbally attacked a police officer during an award ceremony… because that officer had previously arrested him.
The third chapter of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is an appointed time for everything. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together. So today, I choose to speak, tear down and tear apart.
The target of my wrath: Tamarac, Florida City Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin.
Why Gelin? Because he stood in the City Commission chambers yesterday, in his official capacity as a City Commissioner, and issued a statement of personal bias towards a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy. It was all based off a 4-year old grudge, stemming from an arrest the deputy made in July of 2015.
The individual he arrested was…wait for it, Gelin.
Now an elected official, this man had the audacity to publicly berate the officer for doing his job. Not only did he deliver this statement around this idiotic vendetta, he singled the officer out and called him forward in front of the monthly Regular City Commission Meeting.
Video of the event has been provided (it starts at about 12:45 into the video, which can be seen here), but here is how it went down.
After the call to order, roll call and Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Michelle Gomez and the Commissioners made their way in front of the dais to meet and recognize the Deputies of the Month for January through June of 2019. Deputy Joshua Gallardo was awarded the Deputy of the Month citation for April of this year.
As part of the citation, it was noted that Gallardo was involved in a case unlike any the Lieutenant presenting the awards had ever seen.
While conducting a routine traffic stop, Gallardo was informed that the driver had a warrant, which is not that uncommon. This warrant was issued by Interpol. The driver was wanted for murder in another country. While a fight ensued, the deputy was able to take the man into custody.
As the audience and the rest of the Commission applauded, Gelin stood with his hands folded in front of him, and a smug, arrogant look of contempt on his face. It is worth noting, Gelin applauded all the other recipients.
After a group photo was taken, Gelin – who had a previously failed run as mayor – grabbed the mic.
Watching him summon up the courage to pick up that microphone and puff out his chest in a moment of “I am a Commissioner, so I can get away with this” only exemplifies that the most courageous thing he has ever done in life is publicly talking smack to a man who puts his life on the line every day.
“Í would like to make a comment. I want to congratulate all of the BSO officers who have done such a great job,” he said.
Pausing to shake hands, another Commissioner can be heard saying:
“Do it while you can.”
The mayor and Gelin have a brief, inaudible exchange, then he continues publicly.
“Joshua Gallardo, could you come down for a second,” requested the Commissioner.
As the deputy makes his way up front, Gelin continues.
“It’s good to see you again. You probably do not remember me, but you are the officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” he said.
At this point in the video, Mayor Gomez appears to be visibly upset by what is taking place.
“You lied on the police report. I believe that you are a rogue police officer, a bad police officer, and you do not deserve to be here.”
An exasperated Gomez reclaims the microphone and reiterates just how much the BSO means to the community and how appreciative she is for what they do.
“We appreciate what you do. Please take that away from here today,” the mayor stated.
While the rest of the Commissioners remained on the floor for the next proclamation and presentation, Gelin walked away and returned to his seat on the dais.
Apparently, he knew there was no opportunity to grandstand during the next award presentation, so he was done. Mission complete.
So, what did Gallardo do to Gelin that was so egregious?
I am glad you asked. I did a little research and found the probable cause affidavit. He arrested Gelin for Resisting an Officer and Obstruction without Violence, in violation of Statute 843.02. Here is Gallardo’s sworn statement.
On 07/16/2015 at approximately 1430 hours I responded to the listed location in regards to a victim on the ground bleeding from his ears.
On arrival I made contact with a victim of battery in front of 7707 W. Commercial Blvd. Salvation Army lying on the ground and bleeding from both ears and the back of his skull. I was in my BSO Deputy uniform and observed a black male wearing a blue shirt, blue shorts approach me from behind (later identified as Elberg M. Gelin) while attending to a victim of battery. I advised the black male to move back, that this is a crime scene.
He advised he was recording the incident and that he did not have to move. I advised that he could continue to record but he would have to move back behind the bushes to the east side to provide space for when rescue comes. He failed to comply with my commands to move from the area. I repeatedly requested that he leave the area and not continue to approach me from behind.
I then reproached the suspect and advised him that he was under arrest. While attempting to handcuff the subject he pulled his hands away from me and put his phone in his pocket. He was placed into custody for resisting w/o violence and transported to BSO Main jail.
Notice in the sworn statement he says Gelin approached him from behind. Interesting. This could have gone very different, but the officer instead advised him to step back.
There are a couple of things I would like to point out.
Move #1. Gelin was video recording a man bleeding from both ears and the back of his head. He isn’t rendering aid. He is shooting video with his cell phone. This says a lot about the type of person Gelin is.
Move #2. He refuses to comply with the officer’s commands. He absolutely has the right to continue recording, but he does not have the right to be walking around an active crime scene, potentially contaminating evidence.
Move #3. He pulled away from the officer trying to place handcuffs on him.
Move #4. Gelin asserted publicly that Gallardo ‘falsely’ arrested him and that his both a rogue and bad cop.
Hey Mike…can I call you Mike? You were not falsely arrested. You failed to comply with a lawful order and then resisted when being taken into custody.
The fact that you acted like a spoiled child does not equate to Deputy Gallardo being anything less than professional. Your arrest was textbook.
It is at this point that I am reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, Liar Liar. You want to avoid being arrested? To quote Jim Carey’s character Fletcher Reede, “Stop breaking the law, asshole!”
So, why would the Commissioner be so hellbent on making this accusation of false arrest? The DA refused to take the case.
Let me summarize that for you, Commissioner Gelin. You were not falsely arrested. It simply means the DA didn’t want to go to court. It means the charges were dropped. It doesn’t mean you were innocent.
In doing the research into this event, I came across numerous other infractions for the Commissioner, all of which were traffic related.
He has been cited for speeding.
Disobeying a lane control device.
Failure to provide proof of insurance.
Red light violations.
He currently has two open cases for violations.
One is more than a decade old.
Most people would have been slapped with major fines by this point and most likely wouldn’t even have a license anymore.
I reached out to Mayor Gomez for a statement. An email and a Facebook message have not yet been answered. It will be interesting to see what the official stance is on a member of the City Commission using that platform to address a personal issue, and to publicly defame a member of the local law enforcement community. Lest we forget, Gelin called Gallardo a liar and a rogue cop.
We spoke with retired NYPD Detective Rob O’Donnell, who currently serves as the Media Director for Brothers Before Others. I asked him his thoughts on Gelin’s comments and the platform with which he chose to convey them.
“Using his professional position and platform to demean an Officer who was just awarded a city officer of the month award, still in hand I may add, for arresting a Interpol murder suspect is the epitome of abuse of authority,” O’Donnell said. “This was nothing more than a personal vendetta and attack under the guise of public office and should be denounced by every level of government. The professionalism of this officer highlights what our nation’s officers go through day in and day out with the onslaught of false narrative attacks perpetuated by unethical leaders such as Commissioner Mike Gelin.”
Speaking of ethics, we have been unable to track down the code of conduct for the Tamarac City Commissioners.
Speaking of professionalism, Gelin has a recommendation on his LinkedIn profile.
Bonni Smith writes:
“Congratulations Mike on your new position. You are someone who is always there and active in the community. Most important bringing focus, generosity and really caring about the people you interact with. You bring a level of professionalism to any encounter that exceeds expectations.”
Hey Bonni…you may want to rethink that endorsement.
For the record, Gelin is relatively active on Twitter. He seems to endorse mandatory buybacks of semi-automatic rifles as laid out by Beto O’Rourke as well as the ability for convicted felons to vote.
He also seems to agree with the false narrative that Kavanaugh has ruined the credibility of the Supreme Court, Barr has ruined the credibility of the Attorney General and Trump has destroyed the credibility of the office of President of the United States.
Mike, Mike, Mike. Do you really want to pull at that thread? Credibility of office? After the childish stunt you pulled yesterday, you really do not have a leg to stand on when it comes to brining credibility to the office you hold.
I am issuing a challenge to Mayor Gomez and the other members of the Tamarac City Commission. Publicly admonish Commissioner Gelin. Put him on notice that his antics will not be tolerated.
I am issuing an even bigger challenge to the voting members of Tamarac Precinct 2. When Gelin is up for re-election, send him a message. Let him know that disrespect and attempts to publicly humiliate a member of your own law enforcement community is completely and utterly unacceptable.