BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The president of the Brevard Fraternal Order of Police behind the now-deleted remarks over the weekend inviting officers who’d resigned or been disciplined in Minneapolis, Buffalo and Atlanta to seek employment as law enforcement officers in Florida is now apologizing for his comments.
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Brevard County sheriff called “extremely distasteful and insensitive” regarding the current protests happening over race relations and policing in the U.S.
“Minneapolis officers... we WILL NOT disband our LE agencies or give in... we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, conflicting orders or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences... Plus... we got your back!” one tweet read.
The other-now deleted posts featured the same phrasing but was directed at officers in Atlanta and Buffalo, both cities where officers have recently been disciplined or charged with using excessive force during protests.
The president of the Brevard Fraternal Order of Police, Lt. Robert Gamin, who later admitted to writing the post, issued an apology Monday afternoon.
“I let my emotions and frustration get the better of me as a result of all the continually negative media portrayals of law enforcement,” he said. “My intent was to respond to some of the negative messaging and offer a supportive message to all the men and women in law enforcement. Clearly, I failed doing so.”
Officials are now investigating if the lieutenant violated any department policy. He is still employed by the Sheriff’s Office, which the sheriff said has no official affiliation with the department.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a statement that the Brevard County FOP Facebook page has no official affiliation with the sheriff’s office and was not authorized to recruit officers on the department’s behalf.
“While I absolutely understand everyone’s concerns regarding this post and (its) inflammatory nature, please understand and accept that our agency had nothing to do with its occurrence and does not condone (its) content in any way,” Ivey said.
Melbourne police Chief David Gillespie also spoke out against the Facebook posts in a statement Monday.
“Our agency works very hard to hire quality people who we believe will be good representatives of high moral character. It is what we expect of our officers and what the community expects,” Gillespie said. “We do not agree or condone the messages that Brevard F.O.P. has put on its Facebook page and do not support such inflammatory remarks.”
The Cocoa Police Department also took to social media to say the department does not “support or condone” the messages posted by the FOP page.
Melissa Roberts and Christina Morejon of Central Florida saw the posts, and said it’s an example of why police departments should be defunded, a rallying cry now being heard nationwide.
“It means reducing police budgets and power on local and state levels, and investing that money in more poor communities, underserved communities," Roberts said.
“I think that at the end of the day, studies show that will ultimately result in safer streets, safer communities, less incarceration," Morejon said.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said they are not considering defunding police departments, but Dyer said they will review policies and practices.