BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police in Brevard County published a call-out to officers accused of misconduct that they should apply for police jobs in Florida.
"Hey Buffalo 57... and Atlanta 6... we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences... Plus... we got your back! #lawandorderFlorida," reads the June 6 post made at 1:21 a.m on the Brevard County F.O.P. Facebook page.
Florida Today captured the post before it was deleted but after it attracted widespread criticism.
The post appeared to directly attract the attention of those officers in Buffalo, New York, who resigned from their posts in the police department's Emergency Response Team after video showed a couple of them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground during a George Floyd protest last week.
Two officers were charged with assault.
And in Atlanta, six officers were jailed on several charges after college students were tased during a protest.
The Fraternal Order of Police represents more than 300,000 members nationwide and is considered the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, its website says.
Brevard County F.O.P. President Bert Gamin, who said he is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, stood by his Facebook post to Florida Today.
"Our citizens have a right to protest peacefully and legally. They do not have a right to block roadways, trespass on private property or disobey lawful commands from law enforcement officers," Gamin said.
He, too, defended what he said was the "legal authority" of the officers in Buffalo and Atlanta.
"At the time the warnings were provided, the citizens were already breaking the law. Those citizens chose to disregard the warnings," Gamin said. "It led directly to escalations and confrontations with the police. When we issue lawful commands/warnings, citizens have a responsibility to comply. The reality is failure to comply leads to escalation."
Gamin on Monday, in a new Facebook post, offered an apology. He wrote, "I let my emotions and frustration get the better of me as a result of all the continually negative media portrayal of law enforcement."
The earlier post "was insensitive and wrong and that it did not convey the actual thought that I was trying to communicate," he said.
People on Facebook responded in kind, some in support and others calling his words "a weak apology."
- "I also take my hat off to you for bravely extending your apology. We are a nation of wonderful people, this crisis we are facing together has taken a toll." -- Deisy Davis
- "So if you're incapable of keeping your emotions in check on social media, what will you do in stressful situations where you're dealing with the public, with a gun on your hip?" -- Ryan McKenzie
- "I’m just hoping you search your heart and figure out how you came to the place, frustrated or not, to say flat out that you support police assaulting innocent people." -- Karen Callesoe
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey told Florida Today the F.O.P. post was "extremely distasteful and insensitive to current important and critical issues that are occurring across our country."
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