A police awards ceremony turned contentious last week after a city commissioner confronted one of the honorees, claiming that he was a “bad police officer” who had falsely arrested him in 2015.
City officials in Broward County Florida honored officer Joshua Gallardo as “Deputy of the Month” for his role in arresting a gang member for murder. After accepting his award, Gallardo posed for photos with the mayor and headed back to his seat.
But the ceremony wasn’t over.
Suddenly, Tamarac City Commissioner Mike Gelin took the microphone to make an announcement. “Joshua Gallardo, will you come down for a second? It’s good to see you again,” Gelin said. Visibly confused, Gallardo returned to the front.
“You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” Gelin said, according to a recording of the public meeting. “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.”
According to ABC Miami station WPLG, Gelin was arrested in 2015 after he allegedly refused to clear a crime scene where a man had been found beaten.
In an interview with local blog Tamarac Talk, Gelin said he was a Starbucks when he saw two homeless men fighting. Three police officers, including Gallardo, showed up to the scene
“For some reason, he came over to me, told me to stop recording with my phone,” Gelin told the site. “I asked him why I needed to stop recording, and he gave me an answer, and then he told me that I needed to back up.”
Gelin claimed that he asked why he was the only person in the crowd who was told to move. At that point, he said, he was placed under arrest.
“I was disrespected, humiliated, embarrassed and spent nine hours in jail,” he told the site. “I spent a significant amount of time and money finding a good attorney and dealing with the court system.”
But in an arrest report obtained by the Washington Post, Gallardo described the incident differently, and said that Gelin approached him from behind and belligerently ignored commands to move. He was arrested on charges of resisting an officer without violence.
The charges were later dropped.
In a statement, The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association spoke out about the commissioner’s comments.
“What should have been a proud moment for Deputy Galardo and the citizens of Tamarac was quickly extinguished by City Commissioner Mike Gelin,” the union wrote.