Racist NJ Police Chief Said He Wanted to Shoot Black People, Hate-Crime Charges Say
BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP — The former police chief has been accused of using racial slurs against black people, comparing them to ISIS and wishing that he could be in a firing squad to "mow" them down.
The U.S. Attorney's Office on Monday filed hate crime charges against Frank M. Nucera Jr., 60, who was arrested at his township home Wednesday morning.
Nucera, who also served as the township business administrator, retired in June and is collecting a pension of more than $101,000 a year.
“The complaint alleges that the defendant harbored an intense racial animosity towards African Americans," acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey William Fitzpatrick said Wednesday in a prepared statement.
Nucera is accused of assaulting a handcuffed prisoner on Sept. 1, 2016, at the Ramada Hotel. Authorities say Nucera slammed the head of the suspect into a metal door jamb even though the suspect was not resisting. An officer on the scene said he heard the suspect's "head make a loud thud."
The criminal complaint says the chief was secretly recorded for a year by a police officer who had become "increasingly alarmed by the defendant's racist remarks and hostility towards African Americans," according to the complaint.
"The conduct alleged is a shocking breach of the duty of every police officer to provide equal justice under the law and never to mistreat a person in custody," Fitzpatrick said.
According to the criminal complaint:
- Nucera had a "significant history of making racists comments" by frequently reffering to black people as "n*****s," "nigs," "moulinyans" and "moulies." The federal criminal complaint explais that "Moulinyans" is an Italian slur for African-Americans.
- Nurcea went on a particular verbal rampage in November 2015 after a black suspect was accused of slashing a police vehicle's tires. "These n*****s are like ISIS, they have no value. They should line them all up and mow 'em down. I'd like to be on the firing squad," Nucera said.
- Nucera instructed officers to bring police dogs to certain high school sporting games and position their vehicles in a certain way to intimidate African-American attendees.
- After the arrest at the hotel, Nucera told an officer that "these f***king people should stay the f**k out of Bordentown."
The former chief was charged with a hate crime assault and the deprivation of civil rights under color of law. The use of excessive force and hate crime counts with which Nucera is charged each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"The specifics of the charges, all of which we are hearing and reading for the first time, are abhorrent and the township fully supports the U.S. Attorney in this process," Township Administrator Michael Theokas said in a statement.
"All residents, businesses and visitors can be assured that all township services, including public safety, are operating at the high level that they have come to expect," Theokas said.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said he is "sickened by the allegations and the hateful comments that underlie these comments," adding that "it is not a reflection of the culture of the Bordentown Township Police Department."
Nucera's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The Burlington County township has about 11,300 people. More than 8,800 are white and just over 1,000 are black. The township is a suburb of Trenton, which has a significantly higher black population.
Nucera is at least the second police chief in the state this year to face accusations of racism or bias. In Maplewood, the police chief was put on leave pending his retirement after audio surfaced of him instructing officers to march a group of black teens into a neighboring city. The chief and the township are facing a discrimination lawsuit in connection to that incident.