TAMARAC, Fla. — It was supposed to be an all-smiles day of patting cops on the back for a job well done.
But the tone quickly changed in Tamarac when a deputy was called up to be publicly berated instead of thanked. Broward sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Gallardo came face to face with a man he had arrested four years earlier — none other than Tamarac Commissioner Elberg “Mike” Gelin.
“It’s good to see you again,” Gelin told a blindsided Gallardo. “You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago.” Gelin accused him of being a “rogue” and “bad” officer who didn’t “deserve to be here.”
The deputy nodded, smiled and gave him the thumbs up before walking away.
Gelin and Gallardo’s prior encounter happened on July 18, 2015, long before Gelin was an elected official.
Gallardo had arrived at the Salvation Army to tend to a man who had been beaten up and needed help. But as Gallardo was investigating, Gelin showed up and wouldn’t leave, an arrest report said. Gallardo told him it was a crime scene and to move back behind some bushes. Gelin refused, saying he was recording it. Gelin was accused of resisting arrest/obstruction without violence, but prosecutors dropped the case.
Recently, Gallardo was among a handful of deputies being honored for Deputy of the Month in the first half of the year. In his case, he received the honor in April after pulling over a car on McNab Road, soon to discover the man was wanted by Interpol for murder in El Salvador.
Mayor Michelle Gomez on Thursday said the ceremony “was supposed to be an all-smiles day.” Gomez said she thought maybe Gelin “had something nice to say” when he took the microphone.
“I was embarrassed,” Gomez said. “We were all shocked. Nobody expected this. It was a nice event to honor our BSO, our deputies.”
Gelin did not respond to an email and phone call on Thursday. In a text message, he would say only that he had a “constructive” meeting with Sheriff Gregory Tony and they agreed “to move forward.”
The deputies’ union was livid.
“We are absolutely furious about his statements,” said Jeff Bell, president of the International Union of Police Associations. “Here is a deputy day in and day out dedicates his life and service” to Tamarac.
Gallardo had apprehended a “gang member out of El Salvador for homicide, making the streets safer for all residents in Tamarac including Mr. Gelin.”
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Also Thursday, the Broward County Police Benevolent Association said it was withdrawing its endorsement from last winter’s election.
“As a public official, Commissioner Gelin’s behavior towards a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is unacceptable,” Broward County PBA President Rod Skirvin said.