Several sheriffs’ deputies were being honored during an awards ceremony in Florida when one of them got an embarrassing surprise.
Tamarac Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin interrupted the applause to call Deputy Joshua Gallardo back to the front of the room.
“You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” Gelin said into the mic as Gallardo was named deputy of the month. “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.”
In response, Gallardo gave the commissioner a thumbs up as the room went silent, then walked away.
Gelin was referring to an incident from July 2015, when he said he noticed two men fighting outside of a Starbucks and tried to break it up.
Gallardo, who was the responding officer at the scene, asked Gelin to stop recording and to move back, Gellin recalled. When Gellin asked Gallardo why, he was placed under arrest, Gelin said, according to Tamarac Talk.
Gelin was then placed under arrest for resisting without violence, and charges were later dropped after the prosecutor reviewed the video and believed it did not support the charge.
“Almost daily, we see accounts of African Americans being arrested or killed without cause,” Gelin later told the publication. “The arrest was a traumatic incident for me. I was disrespected, humiliated, embarrassed, and spent nine hours in jail. I spent a significant amount of time and money finding a good attorney and dealing with the court system.”
Mayor Michelle Gomez, who attempted to smooth over the situation after Gelin’s impromptu speech, said in a statement: “This was neither the time nor the forum to air our personal grievances.”
The Broward County Police Union, which called Gelin’s remarks “an insult to law enforcement,” also subsequently withdrew its endorsement of the city commissioner.
While Gelin admitted he could have handled the situation differently, he said in a statement, “I was profoundly affected by my wrongful arrest. I had a flashback at the meeting and thought it was the right thing to do, to call out the officer.”
Gallardo has not commented on what happened at the ceremony.