While a jury found a white former New Jersey police chief guilty of lying to the FBI Wednesday, it remained deadlocked on charges related to the ex-chief allegedly slamming a handcuffed Black teen’s head into a metal doorjamb.
Former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr. was facing federal civil rights and hate crimes charges, but the jury couldn’t come to a decision on them, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The newspaper reported that a jury of nine white people and three Blacks deliberated for more than 37 hours before coming to the verdict in federal court in Camden.
Nucera, 62, sat next to his attorney and showed no emotion when the decision was announced, the Inquirer reported. Several of his relatives, including his son Frank III, a current Bordentown Township police officer, were also in the courtroom, according to the Inquirer.
Nucera was the first law enforcement officer to face a federal hate crime charge in more than a decade, Yahoo News reported.
Mayor Steve Benowitz expressed respect for the legal process and the outcome of the trial in a statement a local reporter tweeted Thursday.
“Bordentown Township is focused on moving forward and continuing to provide the best possible public services to all of our residents, businesses, and visitors,” Benowitz said. “The Township has no further statement at this time.”
Nucera was caught on a secret recording going on several racist rants, including one declaring then-candidate Donald Trump the “last hope for white people.”
On the second day of Nucera’s trial, K-9 Sgt. Nathan Roohr testified that he saw the former chief grab the head of the handcuffed 18-year-old “like a basketball” and slam it into a metal door jamb at a township hotel in 2016, according to the Burlington County Times.
The defense earlier argued that while the recordings reveal “ugly, embarrassing and disgusting words,” Nucera did not assault the man and no crime was committed.
The incident in question happened Sept. 1, 2016, when a hotel manager called police on the 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl he was with.
The couple was accused of failing to pay for their room and swimming in the hotel’s pool, according to several media reports.
The incident escalated into a physical struggle when authorities arrived and the man was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed, according to an affidavit.
That’s when Nucera slammed his head into a metal door jamb and hit him in the head with his arm when the teen complained, the complaint alleged.
As the arresting officer walked the older suspect from the hotel to the police car, he suddenly stopped and started yelling, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Nov. 1, 2017.
Nucera was heard in a secret recording repeatedly referring to the couple and the girl’s aunt as the N-word later at the police station, NBC News reported.