Florida police organization apologizes after offer to hire ex-officers accused of misconduct

In this image from video provided by WBFO, a Buffalo police officer appears to shove a man who walked up to police Thursday, June 4, in Buffalo, N.Y.
In this image from video provided by WBFO, a Buffalo police officer appears to shove a man who walked up to police Thursday, June 4, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Mike Desmond/AP)

A Florida police organization drew ire on Monday after offering to hire officers who’ve been sacked for misconduct.
The Fraternal Order of Police’s Brevard chapter has since walked back its audacious ad, which angered the sheriff’s office and sparked citizen outrage, reported CNN.
The organization’s social media posts gave a shout-out to the Buffalo, N.Y. police officers who shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground during protests over the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the Atlanta cops who tased a college-student duo stuck in traffic after a curfew.

“Hey Buffalo 57… and Atlanta 6… we are hiring in Florida,” the Brevard County F.O.P wrote in the Facebook post, since deleted. “Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences… Plus… we got your back!”

The first was a reference to the 57 Buffalo police officers who resigned from a riot patrol unit after two officers were disciplined for shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, then tried to say he tripped. The two officers involved were later charged with assault.

In Atlanta, six officers were charged with using excessive force after dragging two college students from their car and stunning them with Taser guns. The two officers who were most involved have been charged with aggravated assault.

Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, and Messiah Young, 22, were injured and traumatized, they said.

One officer “said that he was going to shoot us,” Pilgrim told WXIA-TV.

Another ad with similar wording was directed at Minneapolis police, whose department may be disbanded in the wake of the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a now-fired cop kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds on Memorial Day. All four officers were immediately fired, and all have been criminally charged.

“Minneapolis officers… we WILL NOT disband our LE agencies or give in… we are hiring in Florida,” the post read, reiterating the words of the first post.

The statewide chapter also did not condone the chapter’s remarks.

Police departments across the state issued strong statements opposing the ads and noting that the organization is not related to their departments.

“To be clear, the ‘Brevard County F.O.P.’ page and organization has no official affiliation with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and was not authorized in any capacity by me or our agency to recruit or comment on our behalf!!” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey wrote in his own Facebook statement. “The comments made by their members do not in any way represent the views of our agency and were made as individuals who were not acting in the capacity of a Law Enforcement Officer!!”

Other departments responded similarly, reported WESH-TV.

On Monday, the president of the chapter, Bert Gamin, issued an apology but tempered it with words of support for officers he felt were put under extreme pressure.

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