LAUDERHILL, Fla. – A troubled Lauderhill police lieutenant has agreed to retire after yet another internal affairs investigation into his conduct, a department insider says.
(Warning: This story features descriptions of sexually explicit content.)
As Local 10 News reported back in November 2021, Lt. Michael Bigwood was fired twice by the department amid a plethora of accusations dating as far back as 2010, but an arbitrator reinstated him both times.
Bigwood was accused of sending photos of his genitals to a confidential informant and threatening his ex-wife and children, later pleading no contest to criminal trespass. The latest investigation involved accusations that he sexually harassed female subordinates.
(Scroll down to read documents, including Bigwood’s rebuttal letter.)
The department source said following the outcome of the latest investigation, the city of Lauderhill desperately wanted him “out of their hair” and offered him a retirement package with benefits so “they wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.”
More than 32 people were interviewed in the latest internal affairs investigation, which centers on an off-duty event at Bokamper’s in Plantation.
One witness called his actions that night “really creepy.”
She said Bigwood sat down and straddled her and said “touching her leg made her uncomfortable.”
He’s also accused of coming back to the table and making comments about someone, saying he “bets (redacted) likes to finger a--holes.”
She said Bigwood’s behavior was unprofessional and it changed her perspective of him, because it shows he possibly doesn’t have respect for the women he supervises.
Statements from other officers include more allegations both on- and off-duty.
An officer who was assigned to Bigwood’s shift after he returned from his second termination told an investigator that when she responded to a business burglary with him, he said he “(felt) really aroused, let’s do it.”
She attempted to brush it off and told another officer “that she didn’t trust Bigwood and didn’t want to be alone with him.”
Another officer, who aspired to become an undercover detective in a unit Bigwood supervised, advised of numerous unsolicited inappropriate texts and comments.
“I have to ask u a question drunk...” he texted a female patrol officer.
“(I) Like you...you know that. Any interest beyond work,” he asked.
After the officer told Bigwood she wished to be alone, Bigwood replied, verbatim:
“I can’t completely understand
I have been through hell and back
It was based in n a completely sexual level
Please don’t take offense. ..you’re atti active”Internal affairs documents
The officer advised that the texts made her “very uncomfortable.”
The internal affairs report says in 2021 a work-related text to an officer about a shooting turned into a conversation about drinking and sex.
During an interview, one witness broke down crying. Another, who resigned prior to completing the academy, says she was warned to stay away from Bigwood.
She said he sent her Facebook messages about him dreaming about her and referred to her as “sexy.”
Another witness, who often collects used condoms during search warrants to collect DNA, told the internal affairs investigator Bigwood called her “the designated condom licker of the group” in front of others.
Most witnesses said Bigwood regularly made inappropriate comments.
“He’s got zero filter,” a witness said.
According to records obtained by Local 10 News, in 2010, Bigwood sent “inappropriate sexually explicit texts,” including pictures of his genitals, to an alleged confidential informant during a criminal investigation.
That led the department to fire him for the first time, but he got his job back.
In 2015, Bigwood was arrested and charged with violating a restraining order.
According to records, he admitted to showing up to his ex-wife’s home intoxicated. A police report says he was banging on the door and threatened harm on her and the children.
According to an affidavit obtained by Local 10 News, Bigwood’s ex-wife wrote that she “left Michael due to violence, where he pulled a firearm on me and threatened to kill me and our children.”
She says he sent her over 100 texts and called her 50 times. In 2014, she said he grabbed her and threw her out of his pickup truck in front of one of their children.
She wrote: “I am worried about the safety of our children.”
Lauderhill fired Bigwood once again. He fought that termination and was again reinstated through arbitration.
Local 10 News visited Bigwood’s home, seeking comment about the investigation.
“Get off my property with the camera,” Bigwood said.
“Can we talk to you about the retirement, about the outcome of the IA investigation?” Local 10 Investigator Jeff Weinsier asked. “About making people feel uncomfortable?”
“I’m not opposed to talking to you to some extent, but not when you come to my house like this,” Bigwood replied.
It’s important to note that Local 10 News sent two emails to Bigwood’s attorney, Michael Braverman, seeking comment before we showed up to his home.
“Give me a chance to kind of gather some thoughts,” Bigwood said.
But we never heard from Bigwood after that visit.
In the internal affairs report, Bigwood denies all wrongdoing.
In a statement to Local 10 News, a Lauderhill city spokesperson said “(t)he city has reached a tentative agreement in lieu of termination.”
“The city believes it is in the best interest of all parties involved and the department to move forward without the possibility of a reinstatement through binding arbitration,” the spokesperson said.
Lauderhill Police Chief Constance Stanley was on vacation and unavailable for comment at the time.
A department source says she did meet with all the women accusing Bigwood of bad behavior, but the source says that meeting was “awkward” because the department “supported Bigwood through the process.”
Internal affairs report:
Lt. Bigwood’s rebuttal: