Davie Police Chief Dale Engle is currently on Administrative leave after allegedly making homophobic remarks following the death of Broward Sheriff Deputy Shannon Bennett, who died recently from COVID-19
Deputy Shannon Bennett was a 12 year veteran of the Broward Sheriff’s Office; an out and proud gay law enforcement deputy; a school resource officer who protected and mentored the young students at Deerfield Beach Elementary; a man in love to be wedded later this year. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/QcqMc31gCd
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) April 5, 2020
CBS reports that a complaint was filed and sent to Davie administrator Richard Lemack from the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Committee. The complaint alleges that Chief Engle berated several Davie officers who had expressed their concerns about the protection levels that officers are currently receiving from COVID-19 while on duty. “We had several that came forward and several who were afraid to come forward as well. That is our job at that point for our officers and the members we represent when they feel intimidated,” explained Fraternal Order of Police Chief of State Mike Tucker on April 7 (see full complaint letter below).
Engle also reportedly (and shockingly) disparaged the death of BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett claiming (without proof) that his death was caused by his “homosexual’ lifestyle, the officers allege. The official complaint states Engle made the remarks during an angry tirade against the officers following a patrol briefing. According to the letter, “Chief Engle allegedly yelled about an alleged ‘backstory’ stating that Deputy Bennett contracted and died from the virus because he was a “homosexual who attended homosexual sexual events”. The letter goes on to say that Engle “intimated that it was because of the homosexual lifestyle that Deputy Bennett first contracted a serious underlying disease which aggravated the COVID-19 virus and lead to his death”. As far as a reason for the tirade, the letter goes on to explain that the intent was to hopefully minimize or prevent completely any future complaints or concerns about the core issue, which is officers crucial protection against the virus.
Engle did send a department-wide email where he attempted damage control, stating in part, that they were “taken out of context”.
CBS reported that in a statement released Saturday night, Davie Town Administrator Richard J. Lemack said, “As of April 11, 2020, Police Chief Dale Engle was placed on Administrative leave pending further review of allegations brought forward by the Fraternal Order of Police. The allegations will be investigated in accordance with the Town’s Equal Employment Opportunity compliance policy by outside counsel. The Town will have no further comment until the investigation is completed to protect the integrity of all involved”.
Change.org has petition that is circulating regarding the termination of Chief Engle that you can find here