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Complaint Filed Over Dolphin Discipline PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elgin Jones   
Friday, 24 February 2012
alvin-pollack-web.jpgphillip_merling_1.jpegBy ELGIN JONES
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FORT LAUDERDALE — A Broward Sheriff’s commander who was disciplined for giving a ride home to a Miami Dolphins player after his release from jail on a aggravated battery charge has filed a racial discrimination complaint.

Commander Alvin Pollock, one of the longest-serving employees in the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) and one of the highest ranking blacks, filed the complaint with the federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, his attorney Reginald Clyne said.An Internal Affairs investigation found that Pollock gave the ride to Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling.

Jim Leljedal, BSO director of media relations, said the department had not received a copy of the complaint.

“I have not seen it and I’m not sure if we have received it or if such a complaint exists,” Leljedal said. “We have over 6,000 people and we don’t get calls about every letter sent to us. But it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss an EEOC complaint.”

In his complaint filed Feb. 13, Pollock states: “I worked Dolphin’s Security Detail for over 10 years. I was taken off detail, because I picked up a player and took him home from jail after a domestic dispute. This allegedly constituted preferential treatment. I was charged with having a passenger in BSO vehicle.” [sic]

The incident in question unfolded on May 27, 2010, after Merling was arrested at his Weston home and charged with domestic battery. He was accused of hitting and causing minor injuries to his girlfriend, who was two months pregnant at the time. Merling was arrested and taken to the Broward Main Jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

He faced up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 but the charges were later dropped.Stuart Weinstein, director of Miami Dolphins security, contacted Pollock and several other BSO officials to inquire about Merling’s release status, according to the Internal Affairs report. When Pollock got off duty, he went to the Main Jail and asked Sgt. Luis Galindez about Merling’s release status.

He offered to pick Merling up and give him a ride to the Dolphins training camp in Davie, an area near where Pollock lives.Instead of leaving through the public lobby of the Broward Main Jail, where the media was waiting, Merling was escorted and released by Galindez in a restricted sally port area at the rear of the jail that is reserved for incoming inmates, that is partly shielded from public view and has no media access.

Pollock drove Merling to the Dolphins training facility and then to his Weston home.Pollock, who was hired in 1977 and had a clean record after 35 years on the job, was stripped of his badge, gun, and squad car and reassigned to car wash duty in the fleet division during the investigation.

After the investigation, he was removed as commander in charge of the Broward County Main Courthouse and reassigned as a road patrol watch commander on the midnight shift. He was also given a 15-day suspension without pay, prohibited from working any off-duty details and banned from working or volunteering for the Miami Dolphins.

Internal Affairs also found that Galindez failed to meet departmental standards and was given a written reprimand. The report accused Pollock of failing to use discretion, having a non-employee passenger in his patrol vehicle and failing to meet BSO standards.Clyne said Pollock has lost about $30,000 in potential earnings as a result of the disciplinary actions.

“The sheriff’s office should have no say in where he works while off duty at any company, especially a reputable organization such as the Dolphins, unless it harms his ability to perform his job or negatively impacts the department,” Clyne said. “This is unfair.”

Clyne said the disciplinary actions were demeaning to Pollock and he was punished more severely than white employees accused of similar or worse policy violations.

“When white employees are involved, there usually are no press conferences but, with blacks like Pollock, a press conference is held where the sheriff condemns them even before any investigations are completed,” Clyne said. “He was clearly mistreated and punished more severely than white employees.”

The complaint names Sheriff Al Lamberti as a responsible party but could be amended to include other officials within the 6000-employee department, Clyne said.

News reports of Merling’s arrest, the manner in which he was released and the ride home prompted the Internal Affairs investigation to determine whether Merling received special treatment not afforded to other detainees.

**Pictured above is BSO Commander Alvin Pollock, left, and Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling, right.
Comments (14)Add Comment
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Punishment does not fit the crime
written by JM, March 01, 2012
I've met Cmdr Pollock several times, and have known other people who had repeat contact with him,. Pollock is a stand up guy, who gives a fair shake to everyone he deals with. He doesn't deserve this type of treatment, especially after decades of service to Broward County.
Lamberti is a corrupt individual
written by BSO Employee, March 01, 2012
Lamberti is a lost fool. Everything coming out is right on time in that 3 1/2 to 4 years before the employees realize a morally corrupt administration is at the helm and the lawsuits begin to be filed. Would everyone who states "Lamberti should do this and that to correct the problem" needs to understand that "Lamberti" needs to go and he is the problem because the administration are his personal friends and they are directed to do what "Lamberti" tells them to do.
Lamberti is the first to be on the chopping block and he deserves no credit and no mercy. Also do not forget, those supporters of Lamberti who we must have no mercy on them as they support a criminal and corrupt individual.
No Title
written by No Name, February 29, 2012
Commander you are well within your rights to sue BSO if you think what they did was bias. When BSO finish draining you of yours funds, by dragging out the Lawsuit they are going to treat you like an inmate, and also have false witnesses to rise up against you. BSO are going to make you wish that you had stayed retired mark my words. Watch your back, and your telephone conversations. God be with you, you are going to need him.
Over The Top Discipline
written by Injustice, February 25, 2012
They have problems now and they now realize it. Meeting, scrambling and trying to discount the story is not working. No one else accused of a minor rules violations has been treated like this. Pollock is a great guy and more than competent professional, but he is also black and that's reason this was done. Lamberti has his son in his car all the time, as do others, but nothing happens. Wonder if the sheriff will hold a press conference?
Count them on one hand
written by Not fussing just discussing, February 24, 2012
It is a race issue. Stevie Wonder & Ray Charles can see that one. Just becaus he "rose to the top of the ranks" mean nothing. BSO may be dumb but not stupid. They have just enough blacks in the ranks to satisfy the EEOC requirements, to avoid the obvious. You will never see more blacks than caucasians in the ranks or any specialized unit. The only time an African American advance in those positions, is when one leaves or is involuntarily transferred. You can count them on one finger, not hand, but finger(singular, one). That's the whole truth & nothing but the truth....and if there is more than one, It's because the community has brought it to the right person's attention.
written by Curiousss, February 24, 2012
Seriously, if this were just a race issue Pollock would never have risen to the top at BSO. The problem here revolves around the petty jealousies, politics, and power trips that infect the upper ranks at BSO. These are the reasons for such a heavy handed "Inquisition" type mentality and over-the-top treatment of non-incident. There was no "corruption" on Pollock's part, or gross violation. He merely helped a friend avoid the paparazzi vultures. The resulting multiple punishments were demeaning, insulting, and flagrant violations themselves. Meanwhile, Lamberti and Benjamin have still not been made to answer for their indiscretions with Scott Rothstein.
good deez
written by good deedz, February 23, 2012
A good deed gone all wrong.I hope Mr. Pollock Prevails. That is not right! PUNITIVE Punishment for BLACK Mr. P... nothing worse then HATE!!!!!!!
queen of blog
written by LovePoodles, February 23, 2012
This is clearly racially motivated. BSO has a history of treating Blacks unfairly.
How else do you explain that Benjamin still has his cushy job after aiding a criminal in his bid to escape justice, and that Lamberti was cleared of wrong-doing for taking his son to the Superbowl and Orange Bowl in 2010? Probably not the first time. Many of these police departments are hateful, horrible places for black, latino, and female employees. My own experiences with BSO I find many of the white bosses to be racists.
Good luck Mr. Pollock. I hope you win big and Lamberti finally is held accountable.
Time For Justice
written by MLM, February 23, 2012
The department is always into something and the scandals are getting worse. This sheriff needs to fire his entire staff and start over. This is pathetic, and it shows there is no fairness, period.
still time
written by Arthur Conan Doyle, February 23, 2012
wait 'till elgin starts speaking up for the oppressed gays at BSO. The sheriff will NEVER recover.
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