A Florida police chief has resigned after making some incendiary remarks about a coronavirus patient. Dale Engle, who'd worked for the police department of Davie, Florida for 22 years, resigned after blaming a sheriff's deputy, who'd died from COVID-19, for being gay.
Engle handed in his resignation as a result, and, in a letter to his staff, he wrote that he was proud of the work that he'd done, according to TMZ. Although his stepping down does come after he was placed on administrative leave by the police union three months for his remarks. The union also claimed that Engle flew off of the handle when some officers complained about a lack of safety measures in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. During his rant, the union alleges that Deputy Shannon Bennett, who had been on the force for 12 years, had contracted the virus and died because he was a "homosexual who attended homosexual 'sexual' events." Jonathan Frey, who was engaged to Benett, called Engle's alleged comments false, hateful and defamatory.
Johns Hopkins reports that as of Tuesday, there have been nearly 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with more than 140,000 deaths. As cases have been spiking in several parts of the country, Florida has been one of the hardest hit, with the city of Miami even being considered the new global epicenter of the worldwide pandemic.
"What we were seeing in Wuhan five months ago, now we are there," Dr. Lillian Abbo said at a press conference on Friday. "We really need your help." Abbo, an infectious disease expert at the University of Miami, was joined by a number of colleagues to plead with the public to socially distance, wear face coverings and follow local protocols, all of which are aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
Florida started seeing a substantial uptick in cases back in mid-June, which included a considerable percentage of them being in young people. Doctors have since reported that the median age of patients who'd been testing positive for COVID-19 has been on the rise going into July, which health officials have blamed on younger people who had contracted the virus before passing it along to older friends or family members. After being one of the first states to loosen its stay-at-home orders, some local jurisdictions have begun reimplementing the measures as a means to slow the spread.