A retired New Jersey police chief who compared Black Americans to the terror group ISIS and said he’d “like to be on the firing squad” to “mow ’em down” was arrested on federal hate crimes charges this week for his pattern of racist remarks and behavior.
Ex-Bordentown Township police chief Frank Nucera, Jr., 60, also faces civil rights charges after a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Wednesday, Nov. 1, reveled in his “racial animus,” toward Blacks, NBC News reported. Nucera’s derogatory comments were caught on tape by an officer who’d been secretly recording him over the course of several months, during which he spewed racist vitriol about African-American suspects and Black people in general, according to audio transcripts submitted by a federal agent.
In November 2015, when talking about a Black suspect he believed had slashed the tires of a police car, the former police chief told the officer secretly recording him, “I wish that n—-r would come back from [Trenton, N.J.] and give me a reason to put my hands on him. I’m tired of ’em.”
“These n—–s are like ISIS, they have no value,” Nucera continued. “They should line them all up and mow ’em down. I’d like to be on the firing squad. I could do it.”
The laundry list of his alleged abuses includes using police dogs to intimidate Black fans at high school basketball games and frequently using racial slurs to describe Black Americans. He’s also accused of slamming an African-American teen’s head into a metal door jamb late last year.
Nucera conveniently retired as police chief of the predominately white town in February when the investigation began
“[These charges] are limited to one person and are not indicative” of the police force or township “as a whole,” Mayor Steve Benowitz said in a statement. Other elected leaders echoed this sentiment and promised to cooperate with authorities.
The federal charges against Nucera mainly stem from at Sept. 1, 2016 incident involving an 18-year-old Black male and a 16-year-old Black female. The police had received a call from a hotel manager who said the teens had failed to pay for their room and were swimming in the hotel’s pool.
A physical struggle ensued when authorities arrived, according to an affidavit, after both teens resisted arrest. One officer was forced to pepper spray the 18-year-old, but he was eventually handcuffed and taken into custody.
As the arresting officer walked him from the hotel to the police car, the teen suddenly stopped and started yelling, the complaint states. That’s when Nucera approached and slammed his head into a metal door jamb. When the teen complained, the police chief struck him in the head with his arm.
The whistleblowing officer recorded what happened later at the police station, NBC News reported, where Nucera went on a tirade about the young couple and the girl’s aunt. He repeatedly referred to them as the N-word, the officer alleged.
Nucera was arrested Wednesday but released on unsecured $500,000 bond. His hate crime and civil rights violations charges carry 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, acting U.S. Attorney of New Jersey, said in a statement. “As chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department, the defendant dishonored the profession by doing neither.”