What to Know
- A white ex-NJ police chief accused of slamming a handcuffed black man's head into a doorjamb in 2016 has been convicted of lying to the FBI
- Frank Nucera, the former Bordentown Township police chief, is accused of slamming a handcuffed black man's head into a doorjamb
- Prosecutors said one of Nucera's police officers secretly recorded his comments over the course of a year out of concern about his views
A white former New Jersey police chief accused of slamming a handcuffed black man's head into a doorjamb three years ago has been convicted of lying to the FBI.
After jurors announced the verdict Wednesday on one count in the federal trial of Frank Nucera, the judge sent them back to consider whether there was any possibility of verdicts on the remaining two counts.
Prosecutors allege that the former Bordentown Township police chief approached the 18-year-old prisoner from behind in September 2016 and smashed his head into a doorjamb as he was being escorted from a hotel. He was also charged with hate crime assault and deprivation of civil rights.
Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said the man wasn't endangering the officers and that assault was driven by "racial hatred," on the part of the 62-year-old Nucera, who retired in January 2017 amid an FBI investigation.
Prosecutors say one of Nucera's police officers secretly recorded his comments over the course of a year because, they say, he was "increasingly alarmed by (Nucera's) racist remarks and hostility toward African Americans."
They also allege that Nucera, who also served as a township administrator before retiring, used police dogs to intimidate African-Americans, including stationing them at high school basketball games to intimidate black fans.
Defense attorney Rocco Cipparone contends that the officers wanted to get rid of Nucera because of his tough disciplinary policies. He also pointed to differences in witness accounts.
The jury of nine white and three black members deliberated for before finding him guilty on the one charge.
Bordentown is a predominantly white town of about 11,000 a few miles from New Jersey's majority African American capital city of Trenton.