Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police’s Facebook Posts Spark Outrage

Facebook

The Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police in Florida posted on Facebook that they wanted to hire the “Buffalo 57” and “Atlanta 6” police officers — two groups that were recently involved in excessive force charges. The post, which refers to “no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences” — has started to go viral with people expressing outrage. The Brevard County FOP later made the same offer to Minneapolis police and defended their post in a Facebook discussion.


Brevard County FOP Tells ‘Buffalo 57’ & ‘Atlanta’ 6: ‘We’re Hiring’

Facebook

In a Facebook post shared at 1:21 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, the Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police told the “Buffalo 57” and “Atlanta 6” that they were hiring. They 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! #lawandorderFlorida #movetowhereyouare❤️

They later pinned the post so it would be the first post anyone sees when visiting their Facebook page.

People are already expressing anger or confusion over the posts. Here’s one example:

“Buffalo 57” may refer to the 57 Buffalo Police Department officers who resigned from a unit assigned to mass gatherings in order to show their support for two officers who were suspended after knocking down and injuring a 75-year-old man. A video that captured the event showed the man approaching two officers. One officer is seen on the video shoving the man, who then fell and hit his head. The video showed what appeared to be blood coming from the older man’s ear as he lay on the ground motionless. Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe pleaded not guilty after they were charged with second-degree assault, Vox reported.

“Atlanta 6” may refer to six Atlanta police officers who were charged after a confrontation with college students where a video showed them using Taser guns on two students who were sitting in their car. Officers’ charges ranged from aggravated assault to criminal trespass and aggravated battery, WSBTV reported.


Brevard County FOP Later Shared a New Status Inviting Minneapolis Police to Apply, Too

Facebook

The Brevard County FOP later shared a new status on Sunday, June 7, saying they would hire Minneapolis police, too. They wrote:

Minneapolis officers… we will not disband our agencies or give in… we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, conflicting orders or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences… Plus… we got your back! #lawandorderFlorida #movetowhereyouare❤️ #☀️


The Brevard County FOP’s Website Says This Is Their Official Facebook Page

According to their Facebook page, the Brevard County FOP was founded in 1965. Their mission is:

The FOP and the J.W. Dunn Memorial Lodge #37 recognizes the importance of building support for law enforcement in the communities we serve. These efforts broaden community and police officer relationships, making our streets safer and, more importantly, making the officers jobs safer. The FOP exists for the purpose of improving the conditions of policeman and for advancing social, benevolent, charitable and educational undertakings among policemen, and the community

The page also notes: “Founded in 1965, the J.W. Dunn Lodge #37 (Brevard County FOP) is the oldest and largest FOP Lodge in Brevard County. This is the official page.”

The page later explains in more detail:

The Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police is made up of law enforcement officers from the following agencies: Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Melbourne Police Department, Rockledge Police Department, Indian Harbor Beach Police Department, Satellite Beach Police Department, Melbourne Airport Police and the Florida Wildlife Commission and many other members retired from local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies. The FOP recognizes the importance of building support for law enforcement in the communities we serve. These efforts broaden community and police officer relationships, making our streets safer and, more importantly, making the officers jobs safer. The FOP exists for the purpose of improving the conditions of policeman and for advancing social, benevolent, charitable and educational undertakings among policemen, and the community… The Fraternal Order of Police is an organization for policemen, managed by policemen, actively engaged in police work for a Federal Agency, State, County, City, Town, or Municipality. Please don’t be confused, the B.C.F.O.P is not a branch of government, and is not funded by tax dollars. The FOP is funded through dues from members and the generous support of the community boosters and business sponsors.

The FOP is a nonprofit fraternal organization founded as a 501(c)(8) charity. It’s not a governmental agency, but many local police officers are members.

Brevard County FOP

The Brevard County FOP Facebook page directs people to www.BrevardFOP.org. The website’s contact page directs back to the Brevard County FOP Facebook page that made the posts as an official contact source.


The Brevard County FOP Wrote on Facebook: ‘Trust Me, the Organization Supports the Message’

Although the Brevard County FOP hadn’t responded to comments on its Facebook page at the time of publication, they did address questions on Teresa Pomales’ page after she shared the post publicly.  She wrote:

Brevard friends and family- anyone eagerly inviting people who openly support extreme force (excessive force, brutality, violence , or however you need to label it) to “serve and protect” where I choose to raise my children IS NOT OKAY. We work way to hard at making our babies good people for you to be allowed to infect our society even more with bad people. They don’t belong here and neither does the person who created the post. That is what is WRONG with our human race and for people who pretend NOT to see it…I shared it for your eyes.

Brevard County FOP first posted in response with a screenshot of unattributed police brutality statistics and wrote: “The FACTS…” Their comment got two “heart” reactions.

Facebook

They then wrote another response:

Facebook

Brevard County FOP wrote:

As for Florida specifically, from 1985-2018, over 25 1/2 million people were arrested (that number reflects Part 1 offenses only and excludes all juvenile arrests) in the state of Florida. At the point of their arrest by a front line LEO, the chance excessive force occurred during that arrest is .00002695%. Or, out of 25 1/2 million arrests, excessive force occurred 685 times over a 34 year period. Of course, we all want 0. But the reality is policing is a human profession and people make mistakes, and worse. The FACT is we make it extremely rarely. And when it did happen, officers were held accountable by FDLE and their agencies.

Pomales also wrote: “Also, I really do hope that your opinion in the original post represents all the officers that choose to be affiliated with your organization. If not, you should really think about posting information like this under a personal account.”

Another person joined in, writing:

I don’t think the buffalo officers that knocked the man over intended to severely injure him, but not one rendered aid? Not a single one? It’s a horrible situation all around. The 57 officers that “resigned” (they actually just resigned from their unit, they’re not looking for a job in brevard county) in solidarity with the callous officers that looked the other way when a man was on the ground bleeding out of his ears?? Is that really what you want in Brevard county? The FOP should not be inserting itself into his matter except to support the law enforcement officers that have died or been injured in this unrest. Full stop.

Brevard County FOP responded to both.

Facebook

In response to Pomales, Brevard County FOP wrote: “yes. And the information relative to Florida is general, and says nothing about any race.”

In response to the other question, Brevard County FOP said the organization “supports the message.” They wrote:

…trust me, the organization supports the message. As for BPD incident, let me educate you. During field force, the front line of officers is told/trained that they have only one job. Move forward and stop for nothing. Absolutely nothing (even injured). There is a second line of officers who are designated arrest teams and medics. After the initial line went thru, the elderly gentleman was immediately treated and transported. The PD and City gave the order to clear the area. They followed the orders and their training to the letter. To not back the officers up after the order is cowardly and absolutely deserves a response. And exactly why the 57 resigned from the team in solidarity.

The only publicly listed team member on the Brevard County FOP Facebook page is Bert Gamin. At this time, it’s not known if Gamin wrote the post or someone else. According to Gamin’s LinkedIn profile, he’s a lieutenant with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and has been with the office for 26 years. He did post in response to a question on his own Facebook page that he supported the post.

Someone sent him screenshots of the two posts and asked: “Is this your idea of building confidence and trust within the community??”

Facebook

He responded: “um. Yes. We need good LEO’s fleeing bad leadership, back stabbing and those who do the right thing.”

He told another person: “We serve every citizen in this County. Every day.”


Many Expressed Outrage & Anger Over the Posts

As of the time of publication, Brevard County FOP’s first post had 949 comments and 767 shares. The second post had 96 comments and 30 shares within 47 minutes of posting. Most of the responses have been angry at the organization for the status updates.

People have been responding on Twitter too.

Brevard County is located in the east-central part of Florida. The Fraternal Order of Police is not a governmental agency, but according to the group’s Facebook page, the members are law enforcement officers.

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