Amid protests of excessive force, a police union chapter president invited cops accused of misconduct in other states to apply for positions in his county.
Florida — As thousands across the nation demanded police reform, many even calling to defund the police, a police union chapter president in Florida invited cops accused of misconduct in other states to apply for positions in his county.
On June 6, Bert Gamin, president of the Brevard County chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.), the nation’s largest organization of law enforcement officers with more than 330,000 members, used social media to issue an invitation to officers from Buffalo, New York and Atlanta, Georgia who were accused of being violent with protesters over the weekend.
On a now-deleted Facebook post from the Brevard F.O.P., Gamin wrote: “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!”
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“Buffalo 57” refers to the 57 police officers from Buffalo, New York who resigned en masse from the force’s emergency response team after two officers were fired for pushing a 75-year-old protester to the ground, an incident that was caught on video.
The “Atlanta 6” is a direct reference to the police officers who broke the vehicle windows of two black college students trying to leave the George Floyd protest in Atlanta. After pulling the female student out of the car and tasing the male student, five of the officers were booked on felony charges.
The organization made a similar offer to the Minneapolis police, where four of its officers were charged for their involvement in the death of George Floyd, a black father of two who died under police custody on May 25.
This came on the heels of several prominent cases of use of excessive force by police specifically against blacks. In fact, “The Science of Justice: Race, Arrests, and Police Use of Force,” a study of police-civilian interactions across the nation published by the Center for Policing Equity found that although officers employ force in less than 2 percent of all interactions, the use of police force is more than three times greater for African Americans than for whites.
Many who denounced Gamin’s posts claimed they prove the need to defund the police, which calls to reduce the demands placed on police and redirect funding to mental health care, housing and other social programs.
Gamin initially defended the posts in an email to Florida Today, writing that “the police had the legal authority… warnings were provided, the citizens were already breaking the law… The reality is failure to comply leads to escalation.”
On Monday Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey issued a statement on Facebook in which he distanced his office from the organization Brevard County Friends of the Police (F.O.P.) and their page, where Gamin had posted his controversial announcement.
Gamin later apologized for his post, calling it “insensitive and wrong,” and adding that “it did not convey the actual thought that I was trying to communicate.”
On Tuesday, Sheriff Wayne Ivey announced that Gamin has been suspended with pay from his position pending an internal affairs investigation.
Brevard County F.O.P did not return The Americano’s request for comment.