New Jersey sheriff dies in apparent suicide in restaurant, one week after layoffs and officers were charged in jail beating

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The sheriff of Passaic County, New Jersey, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday, according to law enforcement sources, one week after the sheriff’s department was embroiled in turmoil, including layoffs and charges against officers accused of beating an inmate.

Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik died in the Turkish restaurant Toros in Clifton around 3:30 p.m., three law enforcement sources familiar with the matter told NBC New York.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh confirmed his death on Facebook, writing: “I affectionately referred to Richard H. Berdnik as ‘America’s Sheriff.’ He was an exemplary law enforcement leader and a cherished friend. May he rest in eternal peace.”

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