A Prince George's County building inspector demanded money from an undercover police officer Thursday who was posing as a restaurant entertainment manager, according to Prince George's County police.
According to the police report, the restaurant owner contacted police because a county employee had allegedly made ongoing threats to take his permits away unless he paid the suspect's band $1,000 a week to perform at the restaurant.
Police on Thursday arrested 52-year-old John Cleveland Brown of Clinton, MD and charged him with extortion and harassment.
Brown, who works with the Department of Environmental Resources, had first approached the owner of Levi's Restaurant on the 6400 block of Coventry Way in Clinton in March and allegedly kept the threats up for months, according to police.
The band did at some point perform at the restaurant on a free trial basis, according to Prince George's Police spokeswoman Julie Parker. But after the performance, Brown told the business owner he wanted $1,000 and the business owner argued that wasn't what they had agreed to, according to Parker.
The undercover operation came out of meetings between Levi's owner and the State's Attorney's Office. Environmental Resources worked with officers, according to police.
Brown was released on his own recognizance Thursday afternoon, according to Parker. He is on administrative leave, according to Adam Ortiz, Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Resources.
The investigation is ongoing and police want to hear from anyone who may have had similar interactions with Brown in the past, according to Parker.
Editor's Note: The headline was edited to more accurately reflect the charges against Brown.