• Michelle Dawn Mooney

Burlington County police chief charged with hate crimes

A since-retired Burlington County police chief has been criminally with a hate crime after he allegedly assaulted a handcuffed black teenager.0 Former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr. “harbored an intense racial animosity towards African-Americans,” acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick said. Nucera, 60, was arrested by FBI agents Wednesday morning and charged with a hate crime assault and deprivation of civil rights under color of law. Nucera also served as Bordentown’s township administrator. The Sept. 1, 2016 incident began with a call to the Bordentown Ramada complaining that an 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl hadn’t paid for their room, and had been using the pool all day. The two were arrested after resisting police, according to the report. But male was handcuffed and no longer resisting when Nucera hit him from behind, slamming his head into a door jamb, according to the two officers who had the unnamed man in custody, the complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Vernon Addison claims. “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 during a press conference Wednesday. “The nobility of police officers is rooted in their selfless commitment to protect our communities and their pledge to honor our constitutional values,” Fitzpatrick said.  “As chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department, the defendant dishonored the profession by doing neither. The complaint alleges that the defendant harbored an intense racial animosity towards African-Americans and, on September 1, 2016, that senseless hatred led to the unlawful assault of a handcuffed and defenseless prisoner.” Nucera is heard using racial slurs in recordings made by an unnamed officer, according to the complaint. At one point, according to a partial transcript in the complaint, Nucera references a police dog. “That dog, that dog will stop anything right then and there,” quotes the complaint. “I’m telling you, You have seen to (expletive) n—–s stop dead in their tracts. I love that when they do that. I just love that.” “Police officers take an oath to uphold the law,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher said. “The FBI works to ensure that they are held accountable when they violate that oath and break the law. We rely on the police to protect the public. The few who take advantage of that public trust, at any level, will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Nucera retired in January, shortly after the Attorney  General’s Office was notified of the investigation, the complaint notes. Nucera’s retirement was met with intrigue in January, with The Trentonian saying he was MIA. The paper at the time said multiple sources said the chief was under criminal investigation, “possibly from an FBI probe.”

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