Florida Mayor denies allegations that he sexually harassed female officer responding to 911 calls about loud music.
Charles Burkett, the Surfside mayor who garnered national attention after June’s catastrophic building collapse, was jogging on the beach when he called police to make the noise complaint.
“There’s somebody here on 96[th Street], in the beach, and they’re blasting this horrific music, and it’s disturbing people. Can you send someone up to 96 on the beach, please?”Burkett stated in the call.
He called him again a few minutes later.
“There’s nobody here. I’m not thrilled with the response time. If it had been an emergency, we’d be in trouble,” Burkett said.
Burkett, growing impatient, dialed the Department for the third time and informed them. “cancel the call,” because he’s “not gonna wait anymore.”
Two uniformed officers arrived 15 minutes after the initial call.
“What’s the issue? What happened?” the male officer asked Burkett.
“Well, I’m dead already. The knife is in my neck,” Burkett said.
“OK, I’m glad it’s not that,”The officer stated.
Officers tried to find out more about the loud music but Burkett said it. “it’s handled”He refused to provide more details.
Burkett turned to Marianne Howard, the female officer, and said: “I had a crush on you. She’s the best-looking police officer we have ever had.”
Now some local citizens are calling out the mayor over the interaction.
When asked if he believed he crossed the line with Howard, Burkett told Inside Edition, “Not at all. It’s interesting, because I’ve known both of those officers for over 15 years.”
“But mayor, you said she was the best looking police officer we’ve ever had. Isn’t that sexual harassment?” Inside Edition correspondent Ann Mercogliano asked.
“Not at all. I don’t accept that. I think it’s very important to recognize that the conflation of a conversation with old friends and sexual harassment — something that’s so serious and so debilitating to so many people — is a dangerous thing,” Burkett said.
The court-appointed mediator, who is trying to reach an agreement about how to compensate condo owners that collapsed and claimed that 98 people were killed in the accident, told the judge this week that the parties are so far apart it might be impossible to reach any kind of settlement.