A police officer assigned to the 120th Precinct on Staten Island and two career criminals were arrested on extortion charges today. The cop and his two associates—one of whom fatally stabbed a groom-to-be at his engagement party—are accused of intimidating a Queens restaurant owner into giving up thousands of dollars in protection money.

Redinel Dervishaj, Besnik Llakatura, and Denis Nikolla were charged with Hobbs Act extortion conspiracy, attempted Hobbs Act extortion, and brandishing a firearm in relation to the extortion. Llakatura is the police officer (he's been suspended without pay) and Dervishaj and Nikolla have prior arrests and Dervishaj was arrested but not indicted for killing a groom-to-be last year (he claimed self-defense).

Here's how the FBI described the extortion:

According to the indictment and court filings, Dervishaj, Llakatura, and Nikolla demanded monthly payments from a Queens restaurant owner in exchange for “protection,” repeatedly using threats and intimidation to ensure his compliance.

The scheme began shortly after the victim opened a restaurant in Astoria when he was visited by Dervishaj and told that he had opened a business in “our neighborhood” and, as a result, “you have to pay us.” The restaurant owner, who understood that he was targeted because he, like the defendants, is of Albanian descent, sought help from his friend Llakatura. Unbeknownst to him, Llakatura, an NYPD officer on Staten Island since 2006, was conspiring with Dervishaj in the extortion.

Llakatura discouraged the restaurant owner from going to the police and sought to leverage his position to persuade the victim that he had no choice but to make the demanded payments. When the victim resisted, he was threatened with physical violence and chased at gunpoint down the street in Queens by Nikolla.

US Attorney Loretta Lynch said, "The defendants told their victims they offered 'protection,' but in reality, they peddled fear and intimidation through the Albanian community—their community—of Queens. When one victim turned to law enforcement for help, he was betrayed again by a corrupt officer on the take, who turned his back on his badge, his oath, and his friend in exchange for extortion money in his pocket."

Police Commissioner Kelly said, "Llakatura is alleged to have exploited his friendship and shared heritage in order to help the defendants extort a restaurateur. Once it was reported, the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau and the Department’s Organized Crime Investigations Division thoroughly responded, resulting in the charges being announced today."