A former City of Miami Police officer who authorities say tried to extort an illegal gambling operation has been arrested.
Jerry Sutherland, 28, is facing two counts of extortion following his arrest Monday, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. His attorney hasn't commented on the matter.
Authorities said Sutherland agreed to protect the gambling operation in exchange for cash payments in January 2014. In July, Sutherland "knowingly and unlawfully attempted to obstruct, delay and affect commerce through extortion by agreeing to facilitate the theft of proceeds from an illegal gambling operation in exchange for the receipt of cash payments," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Authorities didn't say how much cash Sutherland is accused of accepting. Sutherland is no longer with the department.
Based on the charges, if convicted, Sutherland could face up to 40 years in prison.
Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes issued the following statement on the arrest:
“I am disappointed and disheartened that Officer Jerry Sutherland has been arrested today by the FBI. Officer Sutherland was attempting to obstruct, delay and affect commerce, as well as, to facilitate purported illegal activity, that is, a gambling operation, in exchange for receipt of cash payments. The Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section has assisted the FBI from the beginning of this investigation. Let me make it clear that we take these allegations very seriously.
I will not tolerate any conduct that discredits this organization. Any time a law enforcement officer is accused of tarnishing the badge, it is an embarrassment to all the honest, hard-working members of this profession who work, day in and day out, to protect and serve with integrity.
The allegations surrounding Mr. Sutherland are in no way a reflection of the hard working men and women of the Miami Police Department.”