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Police chief to retire over alleged remarks about gay deputy's COVID death

The South Florida law enforcement official was accused of saying an openly gay sheriff’s deputy died because of his lifestyle.

DAVIE, Fla. — A South Florida police chief has announced his retirement months after an investigation into alleged remarks he made about the coronavirus death of an openly gay Broward Sheriff’s deputy.

Chief Dale Engle.
Police Chief Dale Engle.Davie Police Dept.

Davie Police Chief Dale Engle told town officials last week that he plans to retire on Sept. 3, the South Florida SunSentinel reported. He has been on paid leave for three months and will continue to be paid until he retires.

Engle was accused of saying Broward Sheriff’s school resource officer Shannon Bennett died because of his lifestyle. On Monday night, Engle told the SunSentinel he didn’t make the remark.

“I maintain my innocence,” he said.

Engle was placed on leave shortly after the state’s Fraternal Order of Police filed a complaint against him.

He said Davie officials didn’t pressure him to retire. Engle said he is leaving on his own with no pressure from the city. His decision to retire was fueled by a toxic backlash his teenage children received on social media after the allegations surfaced, he told the newspaper.

Deputy Shannon Bennett
Deputy Shannon Bennett.Broward Sheriff's Office

Engle had been with the department for more than two decades. Officials asked retired chief Patrick Lynn to return to lead the department after Engle was placed on leave.

Bennett was the first law enforcement in Florida to die from COVID-19. He had been in Chicago with friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day days before falling ill, the newspaper reported. He died April 3.

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