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After an Instagram post, TPD says it has no relationship with a former Navy Seal acquitted of war crimes

A black SUV marked "Tallahassee Police Department" is parked outside a Publix at night
Patrick Sternad
/
WFSU Public Media
The Tallahassee Police Department says it has no relationship with and didn't pay for a training observed by former Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher

The Florida Sheriff’s Association says it had nothing to do with a recent training conducted by a group called Stronghold SOF Solutions. The Association was recently tagged in an Instagram post by the group, which also featured photos and video of Tallahassee Police Department officers holding rifles.

Stronghold SOF Solutions is affiliated with retired Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder but convicted of illegally posing with a corpse, which is considered a war crime.

Gallagher was initially charged with 10 war crimes—the most serious one being that he stabbed and killed a 17-year-old ISIS prisoner. He was tried in military court. The case prompted then-president Donald Trump to intervene. Gallagher said he was trying to save the teen's life and was later acquitted of the murder after another service member said he killed the teen by blocking the breathing tubes that were keeping him alive.

In an Instagram post featuring members of TPD’s Tactical Apprehension and Control team, Gallagher praised the group for quote “an awesome day of training.” The Florida Sheriff’s Association was also tagged in a follow-up post.

A TPD spokesperson issued a statement about the post and its relationship with Gallagher and SOF Stronghold Solutions stating that the department’s team used a Destin-area facility owned by the company. TPD says Stronghold SOF Solutions “asked to observe our training.” The statement says several observers attended the training and that one of them was Eddie Gallagher. The department also says it has no relationship with Gallagher “and the company was not hired or compensated by TPD.”

A person with the Florida Sheriffs Association also says the association has no relationship with Gallagher or Stronghold SOF Solutions, but that the company is a familiar name and that it has bid for law enforcement trainings within the state.

The Instagram post was first reported by American journalist Wesley Morgan who captioned a screenshot of Gallagher’s post with "Great, the police department of a major American city is having Eddie Gallagher train its officers."

Gallagher’s case was recently featured in a podcast called “The Line.”

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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