Former Bordentown Township Chief of Police, Frank Nucera Jr., still stands accused of several charges after a judge declared a mistrial earlier this month.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito released an Oct. 11 statement that his office will retry the former Bordentown Township Chief of Police on hate crime and civil rights charges after a jury deadlocked on those counts at his trial.
The defendant was convicted by the same jury on Oct. 9 of lying to FBI agents who questioned him about violating an 18-year-old man’s civil rights during a Sept. 1, 2016 arrest.
Officials said that the jury deliberated eight days in the trial of 62-year-old Nucera Jr. of Bordentown, before announcing that they could not reach a unanimous decision on counts one and two – hate crime assault and deprivation of civil rights under color of law. U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler declared a mistrial on those counts.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial, Nucera was involved in the 2016 incident when officials reported that two Bordentown Township police officers responded to a phone call from a staff member at the Bordentown Ramada Inn that two teenagers had stayed in a room at the hotel without paying.
Officials reported that the teens were listed in the complaint as “Civilian 1,” an 18-year-old African American teenager, and “Civilian 2,” a 16-year-old African American girl. After the officers arrived and questioned the teenagers, the situation allegedly escalated into a physical confrontation, with both teens attempting to resist arrest, according to reports.
Officials said that the responding officers then called for backup, and numerous officers, including then-Chief Nucera, arrived on the scene.
After the 18-year-old man was handcuffed and escorted out of the hotel by police, officials reported that Nucera allegedly approached him from behind and slammed the man’s head into a metal doorjamb. During a video recorded interview by FBI special agents, officials said that Nucera made multiple false statements that he did not touch man during the arrest.
According to court documents filed by federal prosecutors, they reported that Nucera’s alleged actions were racially motivated.
“Nucera’s assault of Civilian 1 was not only an unwarranted and illegal deprivation of Civilian 1’s constitutional rights, it was also motivated by an intense racial animus,” according to the court document. “Within hours after the assault, a subordinate officer, Sgt. Nathan Roohr, surreptitiously recorded Nucera at the police station using racist and offensive language regarding Civilian 1 and other African Americans present at the time of the arrest.”
The remaining two counts of the indictment on which Nucera was tried currently stand as accusations. He remains innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly S. Lorber and Senior Trial Counsel R. Joseph Gribko of the Office’s Criminal Division.