Davie Police Chief Dale Engle placed on administrative leave after connecting the coronavirus death of Broward Sheriff Deputy Shannon Bennett as a result of him being gay.
Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39, initially came down with a fever and a headache which developed into breathing problems and passed away a couple of days after going to hospital, his fiancé Jonathan Frey said.
Of note, Frey said his partner had no underlying health condition.
During a team briefing, Davie Police Chief Dale Engle sought to calm officers who were concerned about their susceptibility to the deadly bug, when he connected the police officer’s coronavirus death as a result of him ‘being homosexual.’
The statement was inferred to imply that the man’s death to COVID-19 was attributable to him being gay.
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
‘A homosexual who attended homosexual sexual events’
Florida Fraternal Order of Police chief of staff Mike Tucker, complained to the Davie town manager in a letter Tuesday, saying that Engle ‘allegedly berated them, and yelled about a “…backstory’ which proclaimed that Deputy Shannon Bennett contracted and died from the virus because he was a ‘homosexual who attended homosexual sexual events'”.’
Tucker said that if the claims are true, ‘it’s obviously extremely disturbing.’
‘This obviously was shocking to the members that were present, who are right now looking for reassurance. . . who were looking for guidance,’ Tucker added to Local 10.
When @DaviePolice officers raised concerns about COVID-19, Chief Dale Engle said BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett “contracted and died from the virus because he was a ‘homosexual who attended homosexual sexual events,'” police union claims #BecauseFlorida https://t.co/cgaSpsPoe3 pic.twitter.com/kHRzXd9uEZ
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) April 12, 2020
Deputy Sheriff Shannon Bennett
Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
— CaveManMike#9227 (@CaveManMike1) April 8, 2020
Shameful depiction ….
Come Saturday, Engle was suspended.
‘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,’ Davie’s Town Administrator Richard J. Lemack said in a statement Saturday night. ‘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.’
Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bennett was a Deerfield Beech Elementary School resource officer and a 12-year veteran.
Broward County said Bennett died ‘in the line of duty’.
‘For any reference to be made to the tragic passing of one of our brothers at the Broward Sheriff’s Office is, if true, is absolutely not only unacceptable but is just shameful. And it’s not indicative of the professionals of the Town of Davie that we know,’ said Tucker.
Bennett worked closely with the LGBTQ community and is the first law enforcement officer in Florida to have died from the virus.
He got engaged at Disney World a couple of months ago and it was Bennett’s favorite place. They were to marry in December.
‘Until something like this affects you directly, I don’t really think you think about how much of an impact it’s going to have,’ his fiancé told Local 10.
‘This is not the end of who he is,’ Frey said. ‘I care very much about him. He was the love of my life and I know his legacy is going to live on, one way or another. But he was a beautiful soul.’
As of Sunday afternoon, there had been over 19,347 coronavirus cases and 452 deaths in Florida.
I can’t recall saying yes to a petition faster.
For those not in the know, Chief Dale Eagle told his officers not to worry about COVID19 because Broward County Deputy Shannon Bennett only caught and died from it because he was gay.https://t.co/1O6oFvvjCn
— Jay #WeAreGroot Abbit (@AbbitJay) April 12, 2020