During public comments at the Tamarac City Commission meeting Monday, CareerSource South Florida Executive Director Rick Beasley underscored how ordinary citizens can be treated by police.
Beasley said two days after Tamarac City Commissioner Michael Gelin publicly disclosed a false arrest and what he called rogue police behavior, a police officer drew a gun on his father, Joe Beasley, in Atlanta.
His father, an 82-year-old civil rights activist and a 21-year former law enforcement officer, didn’t take it sitting down. He made a few phone calls and eventually received an apology from the Atlanta Police Department.
Atlanta news station 11 ALIVE reported that body camera footage showed an officer drew his gun when Beasley in a white car turned down Jett Street, during a search warrant execution.
The younger Beasley said his father is having flashbacks of his time served in the Vietnam War. He said his father is lucky that the officer didn’t use his weapon, and that people need to know what to do when officers abuse their power.
It was heartfelt stories such as Beasley’s that was told in support of Gelin at a hearing on Monday, Oct. 7.
Supporters from Miami’s Black professional and clergy communities spoke on behalf of Gelin, who, at a Sept. awards ceremony, chastised a Broward Sheriff’s Officer who he said arrested him under false pretenses.
You probably don't remember me, but you're the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago," Gelin told the deputy, Joshua Gallardo. "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."
On Monday, the Tamarac City Commission held a hearing to give the public an opportunity to provide feedback about Gelin’s actions. The public comment part of the meeting took about two hours with members of the public supporting Gelin and members of the public opposing his actions.
A number of members of current and past law enforcement criticized Gelin for his actions and told him he was out of line. The Commission decided not to reprimand Gelin.
Gelin read a prepared statement before the public comment took place. Gelin thanked members of his church, family and friends for coming that evening and also spoke about how the incident had impacted his family directly. He also had gotten hate mail and threats. Gelin also spoke about the past encounter with the officer and that when he saw the man at the ceremony it brought back what had occurred all those years ago. Gelin also noted that many people had gotten in touch with him to tell him about their own experiences.
“People have suffered,” said Gelin. “Some suffered financially and some incurred financial distress when they attempted to clear their names, including the young couple who was arrested when they were pulled over, and the young lady who was arrested in front of her kids when she called for help. I am a father, a husband, a son and a friend, and a mentor, and a commissioner. The truth of the matter is if I resigned the issue would bubble under the surface. This is not an indictment of law enforcement in general. We have wonderful, dedicated and brave police officers here. I have no problem celebrating and recognizing that. I believe working through this will make us stronger and better. I hope we can all work together.”
Retired Broward Sheriff’s Office Captain Neal Glassman had strong words for Gelin and said that he felt that Gelin was working on emotions and channeling the incident for some sort of a platform. Glassman said he was disturbed that Gelin was using the incident to criticize and humiliate a member of law enforcement. Glassman said that there was a complete lack of faith in people who wanted to serve in the community and law enforcement officers didn’t want to serve there.
“After the latest incident with Gelin they don’t want to come here,” said Glassman. “It’s a sad state of affairs.”
Tamarac resident Patty Lynn said she was disheartened by what had happened and said that she was embarrassed and ashamed of Gelin’s behavior.
“You should have dealt with this in a much more constructive matter,” she said. “You owe your constituents an apology.”
Margate resident Julie Jones, whose husband is Black, said her husband had an encounter on Sunday with a member of law enforcement and that her husband acted appropriately. She, too, felt that the actions of Gelin were out of order.
“It’s out of order,” said Jones. “There’s a time and place for Internal Affairs.”
Marsha Ellison, president of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward Branch NAACP, said that there was a time and place to call out misconduct and that people gathered there that evening were not anti-police just anti bad police behavior.
“We are not anti-police,” said Ellison. “We are anti police misconduct. This is a matter of public safety in this city. We stand with our Commissioner.”
Reverend Henry E. Greene Jr. spoke about recent events involving Black people, including an incident in Dallas, Texas, where an officer murdered a Black man. Greene sad that Black people by nature were forgiving but that did not mean there should be no accountability.
“You have to understand how Mr. Gelin felt on that day,” said Greene. “His life was turned upside down, and the pain and humiliation it caused his family. You won’t understand that pain unless you understand where I’m coming from. I had three different occasions in my life where I had bad encounters with police officers. I was affected by that.”
Black Owned Media Alliance President and founder of MIA Media Group Dexter Bridgeman spoke about similar incidents in his life, including one that made him miss an event with former President Barack Obama. Bridgeman was falsely arrested, and he is still trying to get that arrest removed from his record.
“I say to all of you, there is no wrong time or wrong place for truth or justice. It took a lot of courage for Commissioner Gelin to do what he and say what he said,” Bridgeman said.