Former Bor­den­town po­lice chief ac­cused of ly­ing to feds

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS - By Isaac Avilucea iav­ilucea@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @IsaacAvilucea on Twit­ter

TREN­TON » Frank Nucera Jr., the re­tired Bor­den­town po­lice chief, was in­dicted by a fed­eral grand jury in his hate crimes case, author­i­ties an­nounced.

The 60-year-old former top cop was ar­rested last month by the feds, ac­cused of the racially mo­ti­vated beat­ing of a Tren­ton man that hap­pened last year, when town­ship po­lice re­sponded to the Ra­mada Inn. He was also charged with civil rights de­pri­va­tion.

Nucera, who abruptly re­tired as po­lice chief and town­ship ad­min­is­tra­tor in Jan­uary when he be­came aware the feds were look­ing at him, was in­dicted on an ad­di­tional count of mak­ing false state­ments, the feds said.

The in­dict­ment says Nucera lied when he met with FBI agents Dec. 22, 2016 and was con­fronted about the Sept. 1 ar­rest of Ti­mothy Stroye, of Tren­ton. The feds al­leged that dur­ing the in­ter­view, Nucera “falsely stated mul­ti­ple times that he didn’t touch” Stroye af­ter cops were called to the town­ship ho­tel over a dis­pute of a ho­tel bill.

The in­dict­ment laid out fresh de­tails of Nucera’s interrogation that were not a part of the orig­i­nal FBI af­fi­davit.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors asked him, “You didn’t go hands on with any­body?”

Nucera re­sponded, “Nope. Nope, I didn’t go hands on, didn’t touch any­body, didn’t spray any­body,” ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

“And you didn’t cuff any­body,” the in­ves­ti­ga­tors probed fur­ther.

“I had noth­ing to do with the phys­i­cal ar­rest or any­thing, no,” Nucera al­legedly re­sponded.

When he was asked specif­i­cally about a phys­i­cal en­counter with Stroye, Nucera de­nied any­thing hap­pened.

“I didn’t touch them,” he said, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment. “I didn’t talk to them, and I didn’t see any of the pro­cess­ing at the sta­tion.”

Giv­ing his ac­count to The Philadel­phia In­quirer, Stroye, now 19, said he grew ag­i­tated when he felt the town­ship cops grew rough with his girl­friend at the time. A ho­tel em­ployee had called cops, he said, af­ter wrongly ac­cus­ing the cou­ple of not pay­ing their ho­tel bill.

Stroye told the news­pa­per he was there with his girl­friend’s rel­a­tives for a birth­day get­away when the fun-filled week­end turned ugly af­ter the cops and Nucera ar­rived.

The feds said dur­ing the con­fronta­tion with Stroye, who was re­ferred to in the crim­i­nal com­plaint as “civil­ian 1,” the former chief slammed his head into a metal door­jamb.

Stroye ad­mit­ted to the In­quirer he threat­ened to spit on Nucera dur­ing their al­ter­ca­tion, which ran­kled Nucera. Stroye said the former chief puffed out his chest in re­sponse, ap­pear­ing to con­tra­dict Nucera’s state­ment to the feds that he didn’t speak to the teen.

“Ev­ery­one is a tough guy when they’re cuffed,” Stroye said the chief told him. “I’ll un­cuff you, and then I’ll see how tough you are.”

Bor­den­town of­fi­cials said in a Tren­to­nian cover story last week they were try­ing to move on from the stain of the former chief’s al­leged racial an­i­mus, which in­cluded use of the N-word and other racial slurs caught on tapes sur­rep­ti­tiously made by one of Nucera’s own of­fi­cers.

Nucera also al­legedly har­bored spe­cial con­tempt for blacks from Tren­ton.

“I wish that (n-word) would come back from Tren­ton and give me a rea­son to put my hands on him,” Nucera said, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint. “I’m tired of ‘em. These n ***** s are like ISIS, they have no value. They should line them all up and mow ‘em down. I’d like to be on the fir­ing squad, I could do it. I used to think about if I could shoot some­one or not, I could do it, I’m tired of it.”

Town­ship of­fi­cials con­tended they were blind­sided by Nucera’s big­otry.

“I did not have a clue that was go­ing on,” Mayor Steve Benowitz said last week. “I’ve talked to oth­ers. They didn’t have a clue, ei­ther.”

Nucera’s lawyer, in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view, called the al­le­ga­tions un­proven.

“You can’t judge the case based on snip­pets of con­ver­sa­tion. That’s not ev­i­dence,” de­fense at­tor­ney Rocco Cip­parone Jr. said. “This is an un­con­tested com­plaint. It’s not proof of any­thing. The al­le­ga­tions aren’t pretty. They’re not nice, but that doesn’t mean Mr. Nucera’s guilty.”

Frank Nucera

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