Equality Florida's Response to the Investigation of Davie Police Chief Dale Engle for homophobic remarks

In April, Broward Sheriff's Deputy Shannon Bennett was exposed to COVID-19 on the job and tragically lost his life. Days later, Davie Police Chief Dale Engle allegedly remarked that Deputy Bennett died from the virus because he was a "homosexual who attended homosexual events.” This is unacceptable.

 

Today, Equality Florida sent the following letter to Broward officials demanding Davie Police Chief Dale Engle's termination.

 

July 8, 2020

Mr. Richard J. Lemack, Town Administrator

 

Re: Investigation of Davie Police Chief Dale Engle for homophobic remarks

 

Dear Mr. Lemack:

 

Equality Florida is aware of the investigation of Davie Police Chief Dale Engle for his homophobic remarks during a patrol briefing on April 7, 2020.  Multiple sources report that in that briefing Chief Engle outrageously asserted Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Bennett died of COVID-19 because of his homosexual lifestyle.

 

In these challenging moments, we need our leaders and public servants to be standing with us, not demonizing us.  Deputy Bennett was a treasured member of the LGBTQ community and dedicated his career to ensuring the most vulnerable individuals in our society could find safety and support.  The offensive comments attributed to Chief Engle robbed Deputy Bennett, and all LGBTQ people, of the dignity and respect they deserve.

Equality Florida calls on the Town of Davie to terminate Chief Engle’s employment if these reports are substantiated.  As a leader of Davie’s law enforcement agency, he has failed to demonstrate the respect and leadership skills needed to protect all individuals who reside or visit Davie.

Equality Florida is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to ensuring full equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community, including protection from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation.  We welcome any opportunity to work with Davie to advance protections for its LGBTQ citizens and ensure that Davie is a safe and welcoming place for everyone to live, work, and visit.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jon Harris Maurer

Public Policy Director

Equality Florida

 

cc:    Mayor Judy Paul

    Councilmember Bryan Caletka, District 1

    Councilmember Caryl Hattan, District 2

    Councilmember Susan Starkey, District 3

    Councilmember Marlon Luis, District 4

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