CAMDEN, N.J. (CN) - Federal prosecutors unsealed hate-crime charges Wednesday against a recently retired New Jersey police chief said to have been intimidating members of the black community for years.
The criminal complaint, dated Oct. 31 but only made public this morning, says there is thorough documentation of the racial animus that led former Bordentown police chief Frank Nucera Jr. to violate the rights of a black suspect last year.
“These niggers are like ISIS, they have no value,” Nucera told a subordinate officer in 2015, as quoted in the complaint. “They should line them all up and mow ’em down. I’d like to be on the firing squad, I could do it. I used to think about if I could shoot someone or not, I could do it, I’m tired of it.”
Bordentown is a city of just under 4,000 residents, most of them white, in Burlington County.
FBI Agent Vernon Addison notes in an affidavit accompanying the complaint that the officer whom Nucera was addressing “began recording … Nucera because he became increasingly alarmed by the defendant’s racist remarks and hostility towards African Americans.”
On Sept. 1, 2016, the officer said he and Nucera made their way to the Bordentown Ramada after the hotel manager there called for help with two black teens who were swimming in the hotel’s pool that afternoon but had not paid for a room the night before.
The complaint says both teens, an 18-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, resisted arrest initially but were subdued and handcuffed when Nucera approached.
Two officers, including the one who took it upon himself to record the chief, observed Nucera grab hold of the male suspect’s head from behind and slam it into a metal doorjamb, according to the complaint.
The complaint quotes statements Nucera was recorded making hours later about the teens from the hotel and African-Americans in general.
“I’m fucking tired of them, man,” Nucera said, according to the complaint. “I’ll tell you what, it’s gonna get to the point where I could shoot one of these motherfuckers. And that nigger bitch lady, she almost got it.”
A footnote to the complaint says Nucera was referring here to the aunt of the female teen, who was present at the scene of the arrest.
“Fucking nipple hanging bitch,” Nucera said of the woman, according to the complaint. “I’m so tired of them, man.”
Later that day, Nucera was also recorded saying he wished officers had brought a police dog to intimidate the suspects.
“That dog, that dog will stop anything right then and there,” Nucera said, according to the complaint, which says he then proceeded to make dog noises.
“I’m telling you,” Nucera allegedly continued. “You’d have seen two fucking niggers stop dead in their tracks. I love that when they do that. I just love that."
Nucera’s alleged fondness for using police dogs to threaten members African-Americans is recounted throughout the complaint.
Officer 1, the individual who provided recordings of Nucera to the FBI, also recorded the chief on April 30, 2016, when Nucera directed him to walk a police dog through a certain apartment complex.
“Let these fucking moulies see him,” Nucera allegedly said, using a slur for African-Americans derived from a variation of the Italian word for eggplant, mulignana.
“Let 'em see him,” Nucera continued, according to the complaint. “I don’t care.”
The FBI says Nucera also instructed officers to bring police dogs while providing security for high school basketball games.
Nucera specifically had the officers “position the canine vehicles at the entrance to the gymnasium in order to intimidate African American patrons,” the complaint states.
The 10-page complaint concludes with another recorded instance of Nucera using racial slurs.
It says Nucera was discussing the Ramada hotel arrest some months later when he said that police were summoned "cause of six unruly fucking niggers."
Nucera retired this past January, according to the complaint, shortly after prosecutors let the New Jersey attorney general know about their excessive-force investigation of the chief. He was earning a yearly salary of roughly $147,000.
In 2014 the chief made headlines when he was shot in the leg with his own firearm in an incident reportedly involving a juvenile.
After the former chief’s arrest this morning, Acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick accused Nucera of sullying the reputation of law enforcement.
"The nobility of police officers is rooted in their selfless commitment to protect our communities and their pledge to honor our constitutional values," Fitzpatrick said. “As chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department, the defendant dishonored the profession by doing neither.
If convicted of the charges, Nucera, 60, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Bordentown Township Administrator Michael Theokas declined to comment in a phone call.
He released a statement, however, assuring the township’s continued cooperation and compliance “with all authorities, as we have from the beginning."
Bordentown Mayor Steve Benowitz said in a statement that the charges were from a self-reported complaint from the police department. "The township has moved forward with new leadership that promotes community, inclusion, and equality," Benowitz said in the statement.
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