The Courier-Mail

Public cast their vote for Flori as top officer

- JEREMY PIERCE

THE sergeant accused of leaking video footage of his colleagues bashing a handcuffed prisoner in the basement of the Surfers Paradise police station has received a record flood of nomination­s for the Gold Coast police officer of the year award.

Sergeant Rick Flori faces seven years’ jail if found guilty of misconduct amid allegation­s he supplied damning footage of officers assaulting young dad Noa Begic in 2012.

However, the potential jail sentence did not stop Sgt Flori being nominated for the award, which is open to public voting.

Sgt Flori is one of 18 officers to be nominated for the Rotary-sponsored award, which rewards officers who have gone “above and beyond” in the line of duty. More than 2800 nomination­s have been for Sergeant Flori.

Awards chairman Ray Milton, from Broadbeach Rotary Club, said the support for Sgt Flori was extraordin­ary.

His supporters had arranged to personally deliver the package of nomination­s so as not to clog up fax and email systems.

“We’ve never had anything like it,” Mr Milton said. “Sometimes in the past we’ve seen people receive 15-20 nomination­s, but never anything on this scale.”

However, despite the number of nomination­s, it does not guarantee Sgt Flori, who denied leaking the video, will win. “It’s not about the number of nomination­s,” Mr Milton said. “It has more to do with fulfilling the criteria over the 12-month period.”

If Sgt Flori won it would be a major source of embarrassm­ent for senior police, who have pursued charges against the Surfers Paradise officer for more than three years.

Sgt Flori returns to court on September 18 to face misconduct charges.

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