The trial of former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr. began Friday
The former New Jersey police chief caught on tape making racist remarks before and after he was accused of bashing a handcuffed black teen’s head into a door frame acknowledges his past rhetoric about African Americans is repulsive, but argues bigoted statements aren’t illegal – even for a cop.
Ex-Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr., 62, became one of the few officers in U.S. history to be charged with a federal hate crime after his violent September 2016 encounter with Timothy Stroye, then 18.
Nucera’s trial began Friday. During opening remarks Nucera’s attorney, Rocco Cipparone admitted his client has shouted racial slurs and threats of violence aimed at African Americans, but said there’s no video showing him assaulting Stroye.
‘Mr. Nucera said some pretty socially unacceptable and inappropriate comments of a racial nature, but as the judge told every juror we interviewed and selected, it’s not a crime even for police officers to use those terms,’ Cipparone told CBS News on Friday.
Nucera Jr., 62, became one of the few officers in U.S. history to be charged with a federal hate crime after his violent September 2016 encounter with Timothy Stroye (pictured), then 18
Stroye and his girlfriend were with her family when they rented a hotel room at the Ramada hotel in Bordentown before Stroye was accused of renting and refusing to pay $65 for a separate room. They were swimming in the hotel pool when a staff member called police who later maced Stroye before wrestling him to the ground during his arrest
‘So unless the government proves Frank Nucera struck [the alleged victim] and struck him because of his race, he’s not guilty.’
Stroye and his girlfriend were with her aunt, uncle, and three young cousins when they rented a hotel room at the Ramada hotel in Bordentown before Stroye was accused of renting and refusing to pay $65 for a separate room.
He and his girlfriend were swimming in the hotel pool when a staff member called police who later maced Stroye, whose family says he suffers from chronic asthma, before wrestling him to the ground during his arrest.
Nucera was one of the officers who responded to a call for backup. Stroye told the Philadelphia Enquirer the chief shoved his head into a glass door while he was in handcuffs and being escorted to a patrol car. He said Nucera slammed his head against the patrol car’s door as Stroye was being placed inside.
Stroye was charged with resisting arrest, assault on an officer, and theft after the incident. He ultimately took a plea deal, agreeing to serve 180 days in jail and two years probation for the officer assault charge in exchange for the other charges being dropped.
After the incident, one of Nucera’s fellow officers recorded him making many racist comments about African Americans over the course of a year, court records show.
Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick (center) speaks during a news conference in Camden, New Jersey on November 1, 2017. Prosecutors said Nucera had a ‘significant history’ of spewing racist venom against blacks
Half of the officers in Nucera’s department have recorded him making racist comments. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted
Prosecutors said Nucera had a ‘significant history’ of spewing racist venom against blacks. Half of the officers in his department have recorded him making racist comments, according to CBS News.
One of the whistleblower cops said the former chief, who abruptly retired after the hotel incident, referred to the teens in Stroye’s group using racial slurs after learning they were from Trenton, New Jersey, a city known for high crime, saying, ‘Stay the f— out of Bordentown.’
‘I’m tired of them, man,’ Nucera said during the recording, according to court records. ‘I’ll tell you what, it’s getting to the point where I could shoot one of these mother f****rs. And that n****r b***h lady, she almost got it.’
The same officer recorded Nucera making racist comments in November of 2015 after the ex-chief suspected a black man of slashing tires on a police vehicle.
‘These n****rs are like ISIS, they have no value,’ Nucera said in the recording. ‘They should line them all up and moe ’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.’
Nucera faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His $8,832 a month police pension has been frozen pending the trial’s outcome. If found guilty, he could lose it completely.