Florida Police Chief Accused of Linking Deputy’s Coronavirus Death to ‘Homosexual Events’

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A Florida police chief has been positioned on leave soon after a law enforcement union reported he berated his officers and explained to them that a sheriff’s deputy had died from the coronavirus since he was a “homosexual who attended homosexual occasions.”

Dale Engle, the law enforcement chief in Davie, Fla., a city of 106,000 citizens west of Fort Lauderdale, was placed on administrative depart on Saturday “pending more overview of allegations brought forward by the Fraternal Purchase of Police,” the city administrator, Richard J. Lemack, reported in a statement.

Mr. Lemack additional that “the allegations will be investigated in accordance with the Town’s Equal Work Prospect compliance policy by outside the house counsel.” He declined to remark more.

The grievance, which was prepared by Mike Tucker, the Florida Condition Fraternal Get of Law enforcement chief of staff, explained a patrol briefing on April 7 through which Davie law enforcement officers expressed problem about the coronavirus. The Miami Herald documented on the complaint on Saturday.

Chief Engle “belittled” the officers and purchased them into the parking good deal in development “like cadets back again in the law enforcement academy,” according to the grievance.

“Engle then proceeded to berate these users about the problems they elevated, yelling about their ‘baseless’ concerns,” the complaint said.

Main Engle then cited Shannon Bennett, a Broward County sheriff’s deputy who experienced died of Covid-19, the condition brought about by the coronavirus, 4 times prior to.

The chief recommended that Officer Bennett had contracted the coronavirus and died from it simply because “he was a homosexual who attended homosexual situations,” the criticism claimed.

Immediately after the incident, the main despatched an electronic mail to his division in which he tried using to wander back again his reviews. He explained that he experienced been striving to “provide as significantly information as possible” and that his comments might have been “taken out of context,” according to the criticism. The main also invited officers to chat to him if they preferred to explore one thing.

Mr. Tucker extra in his report that Chief Engle’s steps, if legitimate, “were unacceptable and are not consultant of the longstanding professionalism of the Davie Police Section.”

Main Engle was employed as a law enforcement officer in Davie in 1998 and was put in demand of the department last 12 months. He did not quickly react to a ask for for remark on Monday.

The Point out Fraternal Get of Police, which has 23,000 customers, has termed for a 3rd bash, like the Florida Division of Law Enforcement, to carry out an investigation.

The Nationwide Fraternal Purchase of Law enforcement also weighed in. “If these allegations are true, the disgusting insinuation produced by Chief Engle is not becoming of the badge he wears,” the group mentioned on Twitter.

Officer Bennett, 39, had been a member of the Broward Sheriff’s Business office for much more than 12 decades. His most latest assignment was as a faculty source officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, about 15 miles north of Fort Lauderdale. The Broward Sheriff’s Workplace explained him as “an out and proud homosexual legislation enforcement deputy” who was arranging to marry his associate afterwards this yr.

The Broward sheriff, Tony Gregory, reported in a assertion that Officer Bennett remaining operate early on March 23 due to the fact he was not emotion well. He analyzed beneficial for the coronavirus on March 27 and died on April 3, in accordance to the Sheriff’s Business.

Sheriff Gregory called Officer Bennett “a wonderful deputy and individual” who was instrumental in primary an initiative to foster unity in between legislation enforcement and the L.G.B.T. local community.

Sgt. Thomas Reyes, the president of the Fraternal Purchase of Law enforcement chapter in Miami, explained Officer Bennett as a pal who volunteered at gay functions, this sort of as an once-a-year promenade.

“I loved looking at him and his family get together on Facebook and sing,” he claimed. “He was a entertaining dude to be about.”

A concept that was posted to the Sheriff’s Workplace Facebook website page on April 5 involved a quotation from Officer Bennett: “Through my get the job done ethic and loyalty I was welcomed with open up arms and have designed a next spouse and children with the adult men and ladies right here at the Broward County Sheriff’s Business office. What I want you to know about me is that I am a human currently being, I am sensitive, I have feelings, and I appreciate the identical way you appreciate.”

In a assertion on Monday, Officer Bennett’s companion, Jonathan Frey, responded to the accusations from Main Engle.

“The Chief’s alleged reviews are absolutely fake, homophobic, and slanderous,” explained Mr. Frey, who had been in a relationship with Officer Bennett for a 12 months and a 50 %. “I seem ahead to the good and impartial investigation initiated by the City Manager, and I hope that acceptable action will be taken at its summary.”

Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.



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