Surfside Mayor Tells Female Cop ‘I Had a Crush on You’ After Repeatedly Calling 911 About Loud Music at Beach
Some Surfside residents are calling out Charles Burkett, accusing him of sexually harassing a female officer who responded to several 911 calls Burkett made about loud music. Burkett denies the allegation, telling Inside Edition, “I don’t accept that.”
A Florida mayor is denying accusations that he sexually harassed a female police officer who responded to several 911 calls he had made 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 said in the call.
A few minutes later, he called again.
“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.
Growing impatient, Burkett then dialed the department for a third time and told them to “cancel the call,” because he’s “not gonna wait anymore.”
Fifteen minutes after the initial call, two uniformed officers arrived.
“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 said.
The officers tried to get some basic info about the loud music, but Burkett told them “it’s handled” and refused to give more information.
Burkett then turned to the female officer, Marianne Howard, 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.
Meanwhile, the court-appointed mediator trying to reach an agreement on how to compensate owners of the condo that collapsed and killed 98 people told the judge this week the parties remain so far apart it may be impossible to reach a settlement.
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