A NJ police chief is in hot water after a recording surfaced of him threatening the life of a female town council president. Englewood Cliffs Police Chief Michael Cioffi said that he would “like to kill” his own town council president, whom he also called a “b*tch,” reports NJ.com. The recording of the NJ police chief were found during the discovery process of a lawsuit filed by the chief. Cioffi is reportedly suing the borough of Englewood Cliffs for attempting to oust him from his job. He argued that the borough took various steps, including the establishment of a police director position, to strip him of his powers.
In the damning recording, Cioffi calls Council President Carrol McMorrow “one hell of a b*tch”. He added that he fantasized about killing McMorrow. The chief can be heard saying that he’d “like to kill her” and then citing the movie the Shawshank Redemption as a model for doing so, according to NJ.com.
“I’d like to kill her but I can’t do that,” Cioffi said in a recording played publicly at a council meeting by McMorrow last week. “I look at ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and say ‘hmm.'”
The recordings are part of more than 120 audio recordings Mayor Mario Kranjac is trying to have released. They were found by attorneys during the discovery process for a lawsuit the chief filed against the borough of Englewood Cliffs. The councilwoman played the recording while leaving her seat at the dais to sit in a place designated for the public. She said the recording was from Jan. 4, 2017.
“Just imagine, our chief of police on duty, carrying a borough-issued gun, discussing with a borough employee whether or not ending my life would be worth it,” she said. “I am extremely concerned about this conversation.”
Cioffi’s attorney, James Patuto, said the NJ police chief and others were just venting their frustrations and the chief was not a threat to the town council president.
“The morale was down,” Patuto said. “It was very tense and they made a silly joke. Anyone can read it as a silly joke. He mentioned ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’ They laughed at it and it went on.”
The laughter was not prevalent in the recording.
“Morale has been terrible since this administration has come in and against the state law have tried to micromanage the police department and force the chief out,” Patuto said. “He’s got 40 years of experience without one mark against him and he makes a joke.”
The NJ police chief and the borough of Englewood Cliffs have been beefing for quite some time. According to Cioffi, Mayor Kranjac has been trying to remove him from office by taking various strips to limit the scope of his powers. NJ.com reports:
Cioffi was suspended for 30 days in 2016, which stemmed from allegations that Cioffi selectively enforced laws, inflated overtime payments for officers and ignored complaints about a Police Department employee working while under the influence. He was suspended another two days in June on claims he failed to investigate allegations brought by a former councilwoman regarding “improper dissemination” of a PBA memorandum.
The mayor and the chief also bumped heads on on launching a stigma-free campaign in the borough. Englewood Cliffs was the only municipality in Bergen without such a campaign until the police joined in July.
There are reportedly more recordings of the chief speaking with other borough employees unfavorably of the town council president. In one such recording he accuses McMorrow of “breaking his [expletive].” When asked on the recording if he screamed at McMorrow, Cioffi said he did not, just that he speaks loudly.
Another attorney for Cioffi, Robert Galantucci of Hackensack, confirmed the NJ police chief made the recordings. He even acknowledged that it was an error on his part to do so. Galantucci argued though that Cioffi made the recordings to protect himself from the mayor after “he was threatened by him.” Paluto says that the recordings should not have been played at the meeting however. He called it a political ploy and denounced the act.
“I’m not defending the joke,” he said. “It was a silly joke and there were people there. Not only were there police officers, there were other people who were all frustrated with what was going on at the town of Englewood Cliffs.”