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Joke or threat? Englewood police chief recorded saying he’d like to ‘kill’ council president

October 02, 2018 - 11:38 am
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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ (1010 WINS) -- Was it a joke or a threat?

"I'd like to kill her, but I can't do that," Englewood Cliffs Police Chief Michael Cioffi said.

He was talking about City Council President Carol McMorrow, who then played the recording publicly at a council meeting.

"I look at 'The Shawshank Redemption' and say 'hmm.'" he added.

It was one of more than 120 recordings that Mayor Mario Kranjac is trying to release. They were found by attorneys during the discovery process of a lawsuit that the chief filed against the borough.

McMorrow says she's extremely concerned.

"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."

An attorney for Cioffi said he was just venting and called the comment a joke.

"The morale was down," attorney James Patuto said. "It was very tense and they made a silly joke. Anyone can read it as a silly joke. He mentioned 'The Shawhsank Redemption.' They laughed at it and it went on."

In a lawsuit last year, the chief alleged that the mayor was trying to get rid of him, and established a police director position to strip him of his powers.

In 2016, Cioffi was suspended for 30 days amid allegations of selective law enforcement, inflated overtime, and ignoring complaints about cops under the influence.