Florida police chief fired for arrest in prostitution sting

Stephen Johnson
Broward County Sheriff's Department

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A South Florida police chief was released from jail Saturday after he was arrested in a prostitution sting.

Stephen Johnson of the Miami Gardens Police posted bail and didn’t shy from reporters waiting for him outside the jail, blaming his arrest on the pressures of his job.

“The stress overwhelmed me,” he said, “and I made a very bad decision.”

Johnson, 53, had responded to an ad for escorts Friday on the website backpage.com and arranged for a 30-minute liaison with two women at a Dania Beach hotel, according to an arrest report from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Once he handed over $100, the report says, detectives posing as prostitutes arrested him.

The arrest led to his immediate firing from a job he had held less than a year in Miami Gardens, a city of about 110,000 people roughly halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The department released a statement saying, “We will not allow Mr. Johnson’s bad judgment to reflect negatively on the hardworking officers of the City of Miami Gardens and the residents they serve on a daily basis.”

On its webpage, the department had already removed Johnson from a page identifying the chief Saturday. An interim chief, Antonio Brooklen, was named.

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