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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — A former Miami Gardens Police officer has filed a lawsuit against the city claiming employment discrimination but it goes beyond that and involves a love triangle, a strip club and claims of sexual harassment at the hands of the former police chief.
In the complaint, filed Thursday Kalicia Battle claims her hiring process with then- Chief of Police Antonio Brooklen included a visit to a private suite at Tootsies strip club in Miami Gardens.
Battle, who was 25 years old at the time, was later hired as a Miami Gardens Police officer in 2015.
She claims that from there, Brooklen’s sexual advances didn’t stop and included and an incident where she claims he groped her.
“After said incident, Chief Brooklen would call from the station and ask if she was avoiding him. He would regularly threaten to get her in trouble and ‘joke’ that she didn’t want to go back to working as a security guard.”
In another incident, she claims he put his hands in her pants while in his office.
When she distanced herself and began ignoring his calls, she claims she was forced to resign.
“On April 25, 2016, Ms. Battle was forced to resign her employment with the Miami Gardens PoliceDepartment. Her forced resignation was the end result of her rejecting the sexual advances made by then-Chief of Police Antonio Brooklen, including her refusal to participate in a quid pro quo sexual relationship with Chief Brooklen,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit claims Brooklen had pressured Battle into having a sexual relationship with him while also having an extra-marital sexual relationship with Battle’s girlfriend, fellow Miami Gardens Police Officer Kimberly McDonald.
In the lawsuit, Battle says “McDonald confided … he was physically abusive and she was afraid of him.”
Fearing for Mcdonald’s safety, Battle in the lawsuit says, she paid her an unannounced visit at home during which time the couple had a domestic scuffle.
The incident was reported. Battle claims she was unlawfully detained for four hours and threatened to be charged with stalking, armed burglary, and battery.
Battle says she told Internal Affairs that she had proof that her relationship with McDonald was consensual.
“Chief Brooklen told Officer Battle that if she did not resign from the department he would force McDonald to reopen the fabricated criminal case against her and ruin her career,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit claims, “Ms. Battle’s forced resignation was Chief Antonio Brooklen’s attempt at covering up a minor incident which involved his lover, Officer McDonald, and her girlfriend, Ms. Battle, which occurred on April 18, 2016. Ample evidence exists showing that Chief Brooklen’s cover-up conspiracy included, but was not limited to: official misconduct, witness tampering, and tampering with evidence, including by coercing his lover/subordinate at the department to destroy crucial evidence.”
She claims he even blocked her from being hired by other law enforcement departments.
The accusations are not something new for Brooklen.
In 2009, a female crime scene technician for Miami Gardens Police accused Brooklen of sexual misconduct and harassment. An Internal Affairs investigation found Brooklen’s actions to be “clearly inappropriate and not within the guidelines of the department.” Brooklen was suspended for 30 days without pay and demoted from a Major to a Captain.
In 2014, he was promoted to Assistant Chief and later became Interim Chief when then-Police Chief Stephen Johnson was arrested in a prostitution sting.
Brooklen was then promoted to the permanent police chief and sworn into office in November 2015.
Less than a year later, on September 22, 2016, Brooklen resigned. This just three days after being served with Battle’s intent to sue the city for sexual harassment and misconduct.
Brooklen claims he resigned because of his mother’s “fragile health.”
The city of Miami Gardens and police department have not responded to calls.