A federal judge declared a mistrial Friday after a jury failed to reach a verdict on two charges filed against a former New Jersey police chief who uttered racial slurs after allegedly using excessive force on a handcuffed black man.
Frank Nucera Jr., 62, who also called Donald Trump the “last hope for white people,” was found guilty in federal court earlier this week of lying to the FBI, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on counts of committing a hate crime and violating a man’s civil rights through excessive force during the arrest, according to Matthew Reilly, spokesman for the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
After Nucera was convicted Wednesday of a count of making false statements to the FBI, the jury resumed deliberations on the additional charges, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.
But the jury was deadlocked on the two counts and Judge Robert Kugler declared a mistrial Friday. Reilly said Nucera will be retried on those counts. Sentencing on the guilty count is set for February 6 but the date is likely to change pending resolution of the other charges, Reilly said.
Nucera’s attorney, Rocco Cipparone, said, “I was hopeful that there would have been a not guilty verdict, because I do believe there is more than enough reasonable doubt, but at least it’s a hung jury.”
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 Township, 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 18-year-old man and 16-year-old girl attempted to resist arrest and officers called for backup, according to the complaint. The man was handcuffed and was being led out of the hotel when Nucera approached him from behind and slammed his head into a metal doorjamb, the complaint said.
Within hours, another 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 said 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 added in the recording about two months before the 2016 election.
The complaint said Nucera has a history of racist comments about African Americans and often referred to them with 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 was quoted as sayings.
Earlier this week, Cipparone told the jury in closing arguments “not to equate social justice with criminal justice.”
“It’s socially unacceptable for a police officer or anyone else to use that language,” Cipparone told CNN. “It’s unbecoming of a police officer, but it’s not criminal.”
Nucera retired in January 2017 after authorities began investigating him for alleged excessive use of force.