A federal judge on Wednesday set March 16, 2020, for the retrial of former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr., accused of hitting a handcuffed black suspect during an arrest.
Nucera, 62, faces one count each of hate-crime assault and civil rights violations in the Sept. 1, 2016, incident at a Ramada Inn in Bordentown Township. Prosecutors alleged Nucera that had a history of spewing racial hatred, including speaking about wanting to join a firing squad to mow down black people, comparing them to ISIS, and talking of sending police dogs to intimidate black spectators at high school basketball games.
U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler last month declared a mistrial after a jury said it was deadlocked on those two counts. The panel deliberated for 45 hours over eight days.
The jury convicted Nucera on a count of lying to the FBI. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 6.
During a brief status conference Wednesday, the attorneys and the judge worked out scheduling for pending motions. Kugler set Jan. 6 for a status conference and left open the possibility that the trial could be held earlier.
A veteran law enforcement officer, Nucera, who is white, was accused of using excessive force and denying the civil rights of Timothy Stroye, who is black. A fellow officer testified that Nucera needlessly slammed the handcuffed teen’s head into a doorjamb like a basketball.
Also at the center of the charges against Nucera are recordings secretly made by Bordentown Township police officers. Experts say it is unusual for officers to break the “blue wall of silence.”
Nucera resigned from the force in January 2017 when he learned he was under investigation.
If convicted on the remaining two charges, Nucera could face up to 20 years in prison and lose his $8,800-a-month pension. He earned $155,444 a year as both police chief and township administrator.