Jonathan Frey, the fiancé of gay South Florida Deputy Shannon Bennett, who died from coronavirus last week, is speaking out after Davie police chief Dale Engle was suspended after going on a homophobic rant about Bennett to his department.
As we reported, Engle allegedly responded to police employees’ concerns about contracting coronavirus by ordering them into formation in a parking lot, giving them an inspection, and berating them with a homophobic tirade about Bennett, who is believed to be the first officer to have died from the coronavirus in that state.
Engle’s behavior was brought to the attention of Davie town administrators by Mike Tucker of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Explained Tucker in a letter to Davie town administrator Richard Lemack: “Engle then proceeded to berate these members about the issues they raised, yelling about their ‘baseless’ concerns. During this, members were shocked when Chief Engle cited the tragic death of BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett who recently succumbed to the COVID-19 virus. Chief Engle allegedly 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’ He intimated that it was because of this homosexual lifestyle that Deputy Bennett first contracted a serious underlying disease which aggravated the COVID-19 virus and lead to his death. 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.”
Engle reportedly tried to walk back his remarks in a later email to staff, saying they had been taken out of context.
Said Frey, who was to marry Bennett in December, in a statement: “The Chief’s alleged comments are completely false, homophobic, and slanderous. I look forward to the fair and impartial investigation initiated by the Town Manager, and I hope that appropriate action will be taken at its conclusion.”