Former Bordentown police chief accused of lying to feds
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.”