A former New Jersey police chief who called Donald Trump the “last hope for white people,” and used racial slurs hours after allegedly using excessive force on a handcuffed black man, was found guilty Wednesday in federal court of lying to the FBI.
Frank Nucera, 62, is on trial after he was charged with committing a hate crime and violating a man’s civil rights by using excessive force during the arrest, according to a 2017 criminal complaint released by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. He was also charged with lying to the FBI about the arrest.
A jury found Nucera guilty of one count of making false statements to the FBI, but will return to court Thursday to continue deliberations on the other two charges, according to a news release from the New Jersey US Attorney’s Office.
The maximum penalty for lying to federal authorities is five years in prison. The other charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Police were called in September 2016 to a hotel in Bordentown, where Nucera was police chief and township administrator. Police arrested two African American teenagers who were accused of staying in a room at the hotel without paying.
The complaint says that the 18-year-old man and 16-year-old girl attempted to resist arrest, and the responding officers called for backup. After the man was handcuffed and as he was led out of the hotel, Nucera approached him from behind and slammed his head into a metal doorjamb, the complaint alleges.
Within hours, a subordinate officer recorded Nucera making derogatory remarks about black people and using racial slurs. The recording was played in open court during Nucera’s trial.
“I’m f***ing tired of them, man. I’ll tell you what, it’s gonna get to the point where I could shoot one of these motherf***ers. And that (N-word) bitch lady, she almost got it,” Nucera says in the recording.
“Donald Trump is the last hope for white people because Hillary will give it to all the minorities to get a vote,” Nucera continues in the recording, which was about two months before the 2016 election.
The complaint says that Nucera has a history of making racist comments concerning African Americans, and that he frequently referred to them by several slurs. After a previous incident, Nucera compared them to ISIS, saying that they have no value, according to the complaint.
“They should line them all up and mow ’em down. I’d like to be on the firing squad,” Nucera said, according to the complaint.
Nucera’s attorney says he told the jury in closing arguments Wednesday “not to equate social justice with criminal justice.”
“It’s socially unacceptable for a police officer or anyone else to use that language,” attorney Rocco Cipparone told CNN. “It’s unbecoming of a police officer, but it’s not criminal.”
Nucera retired in January 2017 after authorities began investigating the excessive use of force allegation.