BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan is facing allegations of misconduct on the job following an incident last month.
One of her own officers filed a complaint, alleging the police chief conducted an unlawful search of an individual and a home. Now, the police union is getting involved calling for the city to suspend the chief pending the outcome of an independent, impartial investigation into the incident.
Mick McHale, who is president of the Southwest Florida Police Benevolent Association, sent a letter to the mayor earlier this week expressing the union’s concerns about the officer’s claims.
“This officer saw something that she thought was immoral, illegal and she said something. Not only did she say something, she put pen to paper and initiated a complaint,” McHale said. “If this was an officer who committed these acts of which we believe are illegal and immoral, that officer would clearly be placed immediately in a administrative leave position until a complete investigation was conducted. I don’t understand why we would not treat the chief of police, the head of the agency the same as we were the officers.”
The incident is currently under investigation by the agency’s Internal Affairs department.
Chief Bevan, in an open letter sent to 8 On Your Side Thursday, said she cannot comment on the incident as the investigation is ongoing. However she called the accusations false and said body camera footage from the incident would exonerate her of any wrongdoing.
See Chief Bevan’s full statement below.
The city’s mayor sent a letter back to the union confirming he received it and wrote, “based on the fact that these investigations are confidential while they are active, I am not at liberty to discuss them at this time. Your August 8, 2022 letter will be brought to the attention of the investigators and will be made part of both investigative files,” wrote Mayor Gene Brown in the letter.
8 On Your Side requested the bodyworn camera footage from the July incident, however we have not yet received it. We’ve also learned the officer who filed the complaint has since resigned from the force.