My husband and I were looking for investment property — maybe a duplex or a small house — last year when our Realtor suggested Bordentown Township.
We didn't know much about the Burlington County community of 11,000-plus, so we took a few leisurely drives to check out the predominantly white area as we weighed our options.
Little did we know that the township's police chief at the time had reportedly been heard saying that people like us needed to "stay the f– out of Bordentown."
It turns out that Frank M. Nucera Jr., who retired this year and now faces federal hate-crime charges, has a reputation for using the n-word and other racist slurs. He reportedly went so far as to refer to blacks as being like ISIS, saying, "They should line them all up and mow them down. I'd like to be on the firing squad. I could do it."
I can't even repeat some of the terms he allegedly used. Some I'd never heard before. Others were so vulgar that I won't insult you by attempting to describe them.
Another officer was so disturbed by Nucera's behavior that he reportedly secretly recorded his boss making slurs.
On Wednesday afternoon, I read the official complaint against Nucera. It was so disturbing that I had to take a walk to clear my head. The level of Nucera's alleged hate and disrespect toward some of the very people he was paid and duty-bound to serve was staggering, not to mention frightening.
He also is accused of using police dogs — of all things — to intimidate African Americans at high school basketball games. Nucera reportedly would have officers bring them to certain games and station them near the doors.
In another instance, Nucera was reportedly recorded instructing an officer to walk a police dog through an apartment complex and allegedly used a racial slur to refer to the residents.
I shuddered as I read. There's a long, ugly history in this country of police using canines to intimidate African Americans, so I can only imagine how parents and others at the games felt seeing them stationed at their children's athletic events. They probably had flashbacks to the civil rights movement, when police set dogs loose on innocent schoolchildren and marchers demonstrating for their right to use public libraries or drink from white-only water fountains.
The allegations against Nucera stem from a 2016 incident involving two African American teenagers who reportedly hadn't paid their motel bill yet were spotted swimming in the property's pool. Police were called. A scuffle ensued and additional officers were called. Nucera was one of the backup officers.
After the male suspect had been subdued and handcuffed, Nucera reportedly knocked the 18-year-old's head into a doorjamb as the man was being escorted out of the motel. According to the complaint, he was recorded saying, "I'm f–g tired of them, man. I tell you what, it's gonna get to the point where I could shoot one of these m–f–s."
He also reportedly referred to the suspect as a "f–ing n–."
If what's alleged by one of Nucera's former officers is true, this is just another example of what the Black Lives Matter movement has been protesting.
If true, it's another example of why the #takeaknee movement has caught on and why so many football fans have decided to boycott the NFL this season. If true, it's why NFL viewership is sagging and sales are down at some businesses.
And if it's true, it's another example of how the more some things in America have changed, the more others have stayed the same.