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Married Florida ex-police chief faces lawsuit over sexual misconduct in love triangle with rookie cops

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In what’s shaping up to be more like an episode of Jerry Springer, Miami Gardens ex-police chief is coming under fire for alleged participation in a love triangle that lead to one officer being forced to resign, another put on paid leave and his own resignation.

As the story unfolds, it looks like the only person ex-police Chief Antonio Brooklen intended to protect and serve was himself.

Brooklen, who was once suspended for 30 days in 2009 after a sexual harassment complaint was made by a female crime scene technician that he was sexually harassing her with phone calls and text messages according to ABC Local 10, possibly feels he was acting more like a mentor instead of sexual deviant.

The ex-chief’s current trouble begins with Kalicia Battle, a former Broward High School basketball star, applying to become a Miami Gardens police officer.

Battle, 26, said Brooklen, who would soon be named the permanent chief and was twice her age and married with children, asked her for her number — which she gave him.

She supplied ABC Local 10 with a couple of examples, including one in which Brooklen allegedly wrote, “I want to feel you,” and another when he allegedly writes that he wants to see her.

“Are you drunk?” he asks when she told him she was at a bar with friends.

She also said that he touched her inappropriately in a patrol car.

“I pretended to go along with what he said because I didn’t want him to fire me,” said Battle.

She said the inappropriate attention made her uncomfortable and that she had no romantic interest in Brooklen for several reasons, not the least of which because she is a lesbian.

Once Battle became a full-time officer, she began dating Kimberly McDonald … another female officer for the Miami Gardens Police Department.

While dating, Battle discovered her new girlfriend had a ‘side-dude’ … the one and only Miami Gardens Police Chief Antonio Brooklen. The love triangle was complete.

The strange situation might have been kept under the radar if not for what occurred on April 18, 2016, when Battle, who was on duty at the time, and McDonald had a domestic dispute at McDonald’s home.

ABC Local 10 news reports the domestic dispute sparked an internal investigation and made the Miami Herald, with the headline, “2 Miami Garden cops brawl at townhome, investigation underway.” But the story contained none of the details, least of all the police chief’s involvement with the two officers involved.

Following the domestic dispute and the ensuing investigation in which Brooklen’s name never surfaced, Battle contends he pressured her to resign her position, promising her he would help her get a job. She resigned a week after the incident, on April 25.

The internal investigation continued and was two months later.

Again, Brooklen’s name wasn’t involved, except when he approved the investigation with his signature as chief. McDonald was suspended with pay, where she remains.

Battle’s attorney, Stephan Lopez, said he sent an intent-to-sue letter to the city Sept. 19, 2016, on behalf of Battle alleging sexual harassment, among other causes.

Three days later, Brooklen abruptly resigned as the top cop, from a position he’d called his dream job less than a year before. In his letter he cited the health of his mother, who is seriously ill.

Battle’s attorney isn’t buying the excuse and said the untimely resignation is suspicious.

While Lopez said he is preparing the lawsuit, McDonald’s attorney, Rick Diaz, said he is exploring possible legal action as well, confirming that his client and Brooklen had a personal “dating” relationship.

“You don’t do that, you’re the chief,” said Diaz, himself a former police officer. “It’s an abuse of power, it’s an abuse of his position.”

Both Diaz and Lopez said they blame the city for appointing Brooklen as chief job in the first place.

“You don’t put somebody in there if they have baggage in my opinion,” said Diaz.

Oliver Gilbert, the bow-tied mayor of Miami Gardens, refused to discuss the hiring and current issues when questioned prior to a recent commission meeting. Gilbert, a friend and fraternity brother of Brooklen, indicated he may comment on the case in the future.

City Manager Cameron Benson refused comment as well, citing what he said was likely litigation against the city in the case. Diaz said to ABC Local 10 that he is exploring possible legal action on behalf of Officer McDonald and maintained that her number one priority is to get McDonald off suspension and back on patrol.

According to the Miami Herald, Brooklen, 42, had been chief for a little more than a year, stepping in on an interim basis in February 2015, after the arrest of former chief Stephen Johnson in a Broward Sheriff’s prostitution sting. He was appointed to the permanent position in November 2015. Brooklen’s last day as chief was October 1, 2016.

 

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