BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey held a news conference Friday to announce that Lt. Bert Gamin, who was recently investigated by the agency for social media posts on the Brevard chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police’s Facebook page, has resigned.
“(Thursday) afternoon, I made Lt. Gamin and his representative aware that at the conclusion of the internal investigation, I intended to terminate his employment from our agency. As a result of my intent, Lt. Gamin decided to resign from the agency, and as such is no longer affiliated with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office," Ivey said.
Gamin publicly apologized for the posts he made regarding a since-deleted advertisement that called on officers involved in violent incidents in Buffalo, NY and Atlanta, GA, to join the ranks of local police agencies, drawing howls of outrage from citizens across 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.
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.
The post, deleted sometime Monday morning, garnered over 2,000 comments and 1,000 shares, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.
Ivey announced Tuesday that the agency was beginning an investigation into Gamin, who had been with the agency for 26 years.
After just a few days of investigation, Ivey said the Facebook posts were not Gamin’s most damning offenses while with the agency.
“The documentation in his personnel file that was most concerning was from an incident involving alleged racial overtones that occurred almost eight years before I became sheriff, and to be specific, approximately 15 years ago,” Ivey said. “The incident involved comments to one of his subordinates at the time, and they were disrespectful and extremely unprofessional, to say the least. As a result of the original comments made by Lt. Gamin on Facebook and the disclosure to me of the various items in his personnel file.”
Some have questioned if Gamin was using his right to free speech when he made the controversial Facebook posts.
“There’s a very fine line between somebody’s First Amendment right. And in this case, it far overstepped and brought embarrassment and unprofessionalism to our agency, and that’s unacceptable in this case,” Ivey said.
Ivey said Gamin’s investigation would not be closed immediately, even with the quick nature of the process, and that his records would eventually become a part of public record.
“The only time that I’ve talked to (Gamin) was not in the actual setting of, you know, ‘We’re going to terminate you.' That was was done through our staff services commander, but the times that I’ve talked to him prior to that, he demonstrated great remorse,” Ivey said. “He demonstrated a large regret, not only for having done this, and I think he knows he did not represent himself in a very good form. But I think he also knows that he misrepresented a level of professionalism for our agency.”