This one jumped right onto my radar tonight and the blip was loud and insistent. The headlines …
N.J. Police Chief Said Black People Are ‘Like ISIS’ And He’d Like To Be ‘On The Firing Squad,’ Feds Say – Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post, 01 November 2017
Ex-Police Chief Accused of Hate Crime, Excessive Force – The Associated Press, 01 November 2017
Frank Nucera, age 60, had been on the Bordentown, New Jersey police department since 1983. According to other officers, he has always had problems with African-Americans, but those problems came to a head in January when the FBI began investigating charges of racism against then-Chief Nucera. Nucera resigned in January, likely under duress, with an annual pension of $105,992.76
The incident that triggered the FBI investigation was Nucera’s physical abuse of an 18 year-old African-American suspect who was already in police custody, in handcuffs, and being escorted on either side by an officer, posing no threat whatsoever. Nucera came up behind the young man and slammed his head into a steel doorjamb. An officer then began recording the incident as Nucera hurled a series of racial epithets.
Yesterday, Nucera was arrested and charged with civil rights violations and hate crimes. According to acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick, “Chief Nucera harbored an intense, senseless, irrational and bigoted view toward African-Americans.”
Nucera had a history of making racial slurs and derogatory comments about blacks, and used dogs as intimidation tools at local high school basketball games. A year ago, one of his officers became concerned enough that he secretly began recording his comments. In one of the recordings Nucera said of African Americans that he was “tired of them. it’s getting to the point where I could shoot one.” And this …
“These n****rs 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, 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.”
Now I have to ask the question … this man has been with the police force for 34 years … thirty-four years! How has this behaviour not been noticed and dealt with long before? Surely he did not only in the last year develop racist tendencies? Surely others have noticed his behaviour and rhetoric before now? Surely there have been other incidences of abuse in the past 34 years? How did this man stay on the force and in his position as chief for this long? And … perhaps the more important question … how many more are out there as city police chiefs, county sheriffs or other arms of law enforcement who are just like Nucera? Think Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona.
I would bet that Nucera has always harbored hatred and resentment against blacks, but did he keep it hidden, under wraps, knowing that it would be trouble if he were found out? And then last year, with the new wave of white supremacy, the new ideology among some that it is okay to be racist, did he finally let his guard down? Or has this been going on all along and the people have covered for him? I cannot find any answers, but am chilled to think of this man having had murder in his heart, and yet been given the keys to the highest position of law enforcement in his town … for thirty-four years!
In response to a spate of police killing unarmed black men such as Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and others in recent years, the Obama administration ordered reforms and training improvements at police departments. But now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of all such agreements, saying it was necessary to ensure that these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime. He also rolled back a different Obama-era effort to investigate police departments and work with them out of court to fix their failings.
How close did Bordentown, New Jersey come to being the next Ferguson, Missouri? How many cities across the nation have officers on the force with an intense hatred of black people? How do they go unnoticed, unreported? And another big question … will Jeff Sessions, well known for his own racism, roll back the safeguards that were just being put in place to combat this very thing? How long before we have our next Freddie Gray? Only a matter of time, folks … a matter of time.