Andrea Salcedo, New York Times, October 1, 2019
A former police chief in New Jersey who is on trial on a federal hate-crime charge after he allegedly slammed a black teenager’s head into a doorjamb, once called President Trump “the last hope for white people,” according to a recording recently played for jurors.
In the 2016 recording, which federal officials shared with The New York Times, Frank Nucera Jr., the former chief, can be heard saying that Mr. Trump was the last hope because “Hillary will give it to all the minorities to get a vote. That’s the truth! I’m telling you.”
The Trump comment was surreptitiously recorded by a Police Department colleague just months before the 2016 presidential election.
The recording was played in court last week by prosecutors in an effort to show that the alleged attack in September 2016 by the former chief on a guest — an 18-year-old black man — at a Ramada Hotel in Bordentown, N.J., was motivated by Mr. Nucera’s “intense racial animus.”
In 2015, Mr. Nucera had told a colleague that African-Americans were “like ISIS, they have no value,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal District Court in New Jersey. “They should line them all up and mow ’em down,” he said, according to the complaint.
“These are embarrassing, ugly words, but if Frank Nucera did not strike this man, then the words are equally irrelevant,” Mr. Cipparone said. “It is not a crime, even for a police officer, to use that language. It’s not socially acceptable, it’s not appropriate, but it’s not criminal.”
If convicted, Mr. Nucera faces up to 20 years in prison.
According to court papers, a manager at the hotel had called the police to report that two guests — the 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl, who is also black — who did not pay for their room the night before were swimming in the hotel pool. When the police arrived, according to court papers, the girl, who was not identified because she is a minor, and the man, identified at trial as Timothy Stroye, resisted arrest.
Mr. Stroye was eventually handcuffed, the complaint said, and an officer began walking him to a police car. Mr. Nucera then approached them from behind and pushed Mr. Stroye’s head into a metal doorjamb that separated the hallway from the stairwell at the hotel.