TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Tallahassee Police Department trained at a defense company Thursday, and former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted of posing with a corpse for a photo in 2019, was present for the session.
The training was TPD's annual active shooter response training, according to a statement from the department. It was held at a facility owned by Stronghold SOF Solutions, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business based out of Destin, according to its site.
The training facility is located in DeFuniak Springs, about two hours from Tallahassee.
Gallagher posted a photo of him alongside a group of TPD officers holding rifles.
His caption read: "Awesome day of training... with the Tallahassee Police Department. They were an extraordinary group of men who were ready to train and take on new concepts of shooting and CQB (close-quarters battle) to add to their tool box. It was truly an honor!"
He included the #backtheblue.
On Monday, he posted an edited video with clips from the training session to his Instagram, as well.
The Tallahassee Democrat first reported on the training and that Gallagher's presence drew some backlash after Wesley Morgan, an author and military affairs reporter, posted it to his Twitter.
Morgan's tweet read: "Great, the police department of a major American city is having Eddie Gallagher train its officers." The tweet garnered hundreds of comments, many of which criticize TPD for seemingly training with Gallagher.
Who is Eddie Gallagher?
And why might his presence at a police training spark controversy?
Gallagher, 43, is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who came to national attention after he was charged in 2018 with ten offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Most prominently, he was accused of premeditated murder for allegedly fatally stabbing an injured ISIS prisoner who was 17 years old. He then reportedly took a photo with the corpse and sent it to a friend over text message.
He was also accused of firing a rifle at unarmed civilians.
Fellow SEALs came forward with other reports of Gallagher's cruelty and recklessness. They also said he threatened them if they were to come forward about his alleged actions.
However, Gallagher was acquitted in 2019 of many of his charges, including premeditated murder. He was found guilty of posing for photos with the dead ISIS prisoner and was sentenced to four months of confinement, which was served before his trial.
10 Tampa Bay reached out to TPD about the training and public response which gave this statement in an email.
“Because keeping our students safe is one of our highest priorities, the entry element of our TAC Team conducted their annual training block on Active Shooter response. The team utilized a facility owned by a company that asked to observe our training. This company had several of its trainers observing this training and providing input. Mr. Gallagher was one of those observers. The Tallahassee Police Department does not have a relationship with him and the company was not hired or compensated by TPD.”
The department is not conducting any interviews or providing further comment at this time, the email read.
10 Tampa Bay also reached out to Stronghold SOF Solutions about the session but has not received a response.