New Jersey

Residents of NJ Town Say Mayor's Racist Comments Are Reflection of Bigoted History

Sal Bonaccorso, 61, who was first elected mayor of Clark in 2000, remains on the job even after apologizing for using the N-word in a secret audio recording

NBC Universal, Inc.

Recently surfaced audio recordings capturing Mayor Sal Bonaccorso using profanity and racist language has propelled this small town into a national spotlight.

But amid the outcry, Black residents of Clark and the surrounding area say that they aren’t surprised — and that the town’s history of bigotry is now on full display.

Bonaccorso, who has been mayor for over two decades, has resisted calls to resign. He apologized last week and acknowledged he is the voice heard on secret audio recordings made by former Clark police Lt. Antonio Manata. Bonaccorso is heard on the recordings using the N-word and other derogatory terms. He also admitted to saying female police officers were “all f------ disasters.”

“I was not shocked. I was disgusted, but I was not shocked,” said La’Tesha Sampson, a Black resident of Clark, in describing her first impressions of the recordings. “I am keenly aware of many of the sentiments of the people here.”

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