Police chief retires ‘after saying other cop died of Covid because he was gay’

Davie Police Chief Dale Engle, left, has announced his retirement from his Florida-based department after saying Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Bennett, right, died of coronavirus because he was gay (Pictures: Davie PD/Broward County Sheriff’s Office)

A police chief has retired in disgrace after allegedly saying a fellow law enforcement officer had been killed by coronavirus because of his ‘homosexual lifestyle.’ Dale Engle announced he was stepping down from Davie Police Department in Florida Tuesday, but insisted he had not been pressured to do so.

Engle, who will stop working on September 3, was the subject of an internal investigation over claims he made the homophobic slur about 39 year-old Shannon Bennett just four days after Bennett died of Covid-19 in April.

According to the Miami Herald, Engle is said to have besmirched the dead deputy’s memory after being asked by his own officers how their healthcare plans would work if one or more of them contracted coronavirus.

The alleged bigot is also said to have claimed that worries about coronavirus were ‘baseless’ because it only affected gays like Bennett, a deputy with Broward County Sheriff’s Office, who he claimed attended sex parties and had an underlying illness.

Detailing Engle’s alleged insults, a letter sent to the Davie Police Department by the local police union said: ‘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”.

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‘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.’ It is unclear what underlying disease Engle was referring to, or if Engle’s claims about Bennett having the illness were correct.

The scandal-hit cop later tried to claim his words were ‘not derogatory’. But he was put on administrative leave days later, as internal investigators sought to back up claims that his words ‘constitute a hostile work environment.’

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