Snitch Biography: Sgt. Michael Cheff is caught up in the Paterson police scandal.
A New Jersey police sergeant has been arrested and accused by federal authorities of stealing thousands of dollars in cash from suspects in drug cases and dividing up the cash among officers he supervised.
The FBI arrested Paterson Police Sgt. Michael Cheff, 49, on federal civil rights violations and filing false records for routinely conducting illegal searches on people suspected of possessing large amounts of cash and drugs, according to charging documents filed on Tuesday.
Cheff is the eighth and highest-ranking police officer arrested in connection with a corruption scandal that has rocked the police department in the North New Jersey city about an hour outside of New York City.
The criminal complaint alleges that in one incident, in November 2017, police illegally pulled over a driver on suspicion of drug violations and stole money from him.
Authorities say police then arrested the suspect and drove to his apartment, where he lived with his mother.
As the suspect sat in the patrol vehicle handcuffed, the officers persuaded the suspect's mother to consent to a search of their home, leading Cheff and two other officers to a safe containing drugs and thousands of dollars in cash.
"We have zero tolerance for crooked cops in the Paterson Police Department," Mayor Andre Sayegh said in a statement to NPR. "This should serve as a cautionary tale that crime doesn't pay especially in law enforcement."
Sayegh said measures to help improve police-community relations are underway, including adding body-worn cameras to the department and launching an audit of police operations and procedures.
City officials said that after 30 days, Cheff will start getting paid again but will remain suspended, citing the terms of the Paterson police union contract.
The judge has not yet set an initial court appearance for Cheff.
Physical Description: Ethnicity/Race: American
Clothing Style: Police
Sexual Orientation: ?