The town of Davie has appointed an acting police chief while the regular chief was placed on leave amid accusations that he said a sheriff's deputy died of coronavirus because of his homosexuality.
Former Davie Police Chief Patrick Lynn was appointed acting chief by the town administrator Thursday.
Lynn had served as Davie's police chief for about 10 years before he retired in 2017.
"With his more than 35 years of service in public safety and municipal government, Chief Lynn’s expertise will ensure the seamless continuity of the agency’s operations," the town said in a statement.
Davie announced late Saturday that Chief Dale Engle would be on administrative leave while the allegations made by the Fraternal Order of Police union are investigated.
Engle met with officers during their Tuesday patrol briefing, four days after the coronavirus death of Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39. The officers expressed their concerns about catching the disease as Bennett had done.
The union said in a letter that 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.'”
“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," the letter continued.
Engle later sent an email to the staff saying, "My intent was to provide as much information to personnel as possible. If my comments were taken out of context, they were not intended to be derogatory.”