BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Bert Gamin, the president of a Fraternal Order of Police chapter in Florida has been suspended with pay from his position with a local sheriff's office, pending an internal affairs investigation into the "unprofessionalism" of a Facebook post recruiting officers disciplined and charged in violent incidents, an official announced Tuesday.
"Yesterday afternoon I authorized an internal investigation into (Gamin's) actions. He has been suspended, pending the outcome," Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said at a news conference. Ivey called Gamin's Facebook post "despicable" and "disgusting."
Gamin, a lieutenant with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and president of the Brevard County FOP, faced several days of public outrage and attacks on social media for several posts made from the Facebook page of a local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP is a national police union organization representing over 300,000 law enforcement officers across thousands of local "lodges."
One post, made on June 6 at 1:21 a.m. called on officers connected to two violent incidents between police and protesters in Buffalo, New York and Atlanta, Georgia to apply for jobs in Florida. That post, along with a second one recruiting Minneapolis police officers, were both deleted on Monday. On Monday afternoon Gamin posted an apology to the page, but it was removed that night.
Ivey denied having any role in any of the posts or their subsequent deletions.
In Buffalo, 57 police officers quit their unit after two of their colleagues were suspended for pushing an unarmed 75-year-old man to the ground, cracking his skull. The incident was caught on video.
In Atlanta, six officers were criminally charged, four with felonies, for the arrest of two black college students, a man and a woman, while leaving a protest in their car. The incident, also caught on video, shows them violently removing the pair from the vehicle, tasing them and slamming them to the ground. One of the students suffered a broken wrist and a deep gash.
Ivey said that as Gamin had not been charged with a crime and he could not be suspended without pay as a matter of policy. Further action against Gamin would depend on the outcome of an internal investigation for Brevard County Sheriff's Office policy violations related to professional conduct.
Follow reporter Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon on Twitter: @alemzs