Retired New Jersey police chief Frank Nucera was arrested and charged by the FBI this week with a hate crime for allegedly making racist remarks about black people and assaulting one young suspect whom he referred to with a slur.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court, Nucera made derogatory remarks about other black suspects, and black people in general, according to transcripts of tapes captured by an officer who’d been secretly recording him over the course of several months while on the job in Bordentown Township.
In one recording, Nucera talks about a black suspect believed to have slashed the tires of a police car. Nucera allegedly told the officer who was secretly recording him that “n—–s are like ISIS, they have no value.”
NBC News notes:
Nucera, who served as police chief and township administrator for Bordentown ─ which is 76 percent white, and 9 percent black — retired in February, after the federal investigation began. He made $151,418 at the time, and is now receiving $8,832 a month in retirement benefits, according to state pension records.
The heart of the federal case against Nucera focuses on the night of Sept. 1, 2016, when a hotel manager reportedly called the police because he accused that a teen-aged couple ─ a boy, 18, and a girl, 16, both black ─ had not paid for their hotel room the night before and were spotted swimming in the hotel pool.
According to the FBI affidavit, the couple’s encounter with police “escalated into a physical struggle,” and that one of the officers had to use pepper spray.
Several other officers arrived on the scene, including Nucera and the unidentified officer who’d been secretly recording him.
After both teens had been handcuffed, Nucera allegedly grabbed the 18-year-old man’s head and slammed it “into the right side of the metal doorjamb,” according to the affidavit.
An officer present during the incident said he reportedly heard the man’s head make “a loud thud” as it hit the doorjamb.
Officers say the 18-year-old was not resisting when the officer slammed his head, however, had “stopped walking for a moment to loudly complain.”
The FBI affidavit then alleges that hours after the assault, Nucera was recorded telling an officer at his department he was “f—— tired” of African-Americans.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s gonna get to the point where I could shoot one of these mother——,” Nucera allegedly said. “And that n—– b—- lady, she almost got it,” he said, referring to the 16-year-old girl’s aunt, who had been present at the time of the arrest.
Nucera was arrested Wednesday on charges of committing a hate crime and violating the 18-year-old suspect’s civil rights by using excessive force. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
“The nobility of police officers is rooted in their selfless commitment to protect our communities and their pledge to honor our constitutional values,” William Fitzpatrick, the acting U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, said in a statement. “As chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department, the defendant dishonored the profession by doing neither.”