Police Union President Expels Retired Detective Who Dug Up (Incorrect) Dirt on Fort Lauderdale Police Officers
Updated below with comments from the investigator, Al Smith, who says "I think I'm being kicked out [of the union] because of my involvement in these cases."
Last week, we posted about public defenders and a circuit court judge complaining that Fort Lauderdale Police officers showed a disturbing habit of not answering questions in depositions that they were legally required to answer.
FOP president Jack Lokeinsky sent a letter to Smith informing him that the executive board of FOP had brought charges against him "regarding certain deceitful and dishonest actions" in his capacity as chief investigator for the Broward Public Defender's Office..."Your deliberately deceitful and deceptive actions ultimately harmed the professional reputation and economic well-being of two brother FOP member police officers, while further discrediting the professional standing of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and, in turn, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 31," Lokeinsky said in his letter.
Update: Smith called to clarify, saying that Gemelius was not the registered owner of the vehicle and that the owner had never had a suspended license, making the connection between the tag and probable cause leading to Gemelius's arrest hazy despite the fact that Smith, when he sent tag information to FDLE to double-check the facts of the arrest, got a digit wrong. He ran the number "W053HC" instead of "W052HC."
The officers were placed on administrative leave following his investigation, but Smith says the department should have conducted its own investigation first. Smith did refuse to give a statement against the officers for the internal affairs investigation, because he believed it to be outside of the purview of his position with the public defender's office.
As for Lokeinsky calling him a "liar," Smith says that's "absolutely untrue," and in fact the IA investigation does not show him intentionally giving false information. "I think I'm being kicked out because of my involvement in these cases," says Smith, referring to the public defender's ongoing scrutiny of arrests in poor, minority neighborhoods.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Broward / Palm Beach, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.