Florida police chief suspended for suggesting deputy's COVID-19 death was linked to his being gay: report

According to a report from CBS4 Miami, Davie Police Chief Dale Engle has been put on administrative leave over comments he made about a deputy who recently passed away from the COVID-19 virus.

The suspension stems from a confrontation that Engle had with officers after they complained about not having enough protection from the coronavirus that led the chief to berate them.

“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,” stated Fraternal Order of Police Chief of State Mike Tucker to CBS.

As part of that tirade, Engle reportedly made comments about Deputy Shannon Bennett who recently succumbed to the virus, blaming his death on the deputy's "homosexual lifestyle," CBS4 reports.

According to the union complaint, "Chief Engle allegedly yelled about a ‘backstory’ which proclaimed that Deputy Bennett contracted and died from the virus because he was a ‘homosexual who attended homosexual sexual events. He 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.”

The complaint continued, "His rant continued for some time, with the presumable desired effect of intimidating the members and discouraging any other department employees from complaining or expressing concerns in the future.”

The report noted that Bennet was a 12-year law enforcement veteran, and that the police chief attempted to later walk back some of his comments in an email to his officers.

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