CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The former chief of the Bordentown Police Department appeared in Camden federal court as a defendant, accused of roughing up a black teenager while the suspect was handcuffed last year. He’s also facing charges of racism.
And his attorney now has a lot of work to do.
Rocco Cipparone has about four days worth of recordings to review, all involving his client. Frank Nucera, Jr. left his post earlier this year before the federal charges were filed.
“It’s my understanding that the vast majority of the 100 hours of recordings were made by at least one police officer who was recording Mr. Nucera not under the auspices of the FBI or any law enforcement but on his own,” Cipparone told KYW Newsradio. “So I would call them kind of rogue recordings.”
Prosecutors say it was other Bordentown cops who came to them with allegations that suggested Nucera routinely used the n-word and targeted African-Americans for enhanced attention.
Cipparone wants to look into any personal reasons why the officers went after his client.
“Were there political motivations? Was he looking to advance his own career by getting Mr. Nucera out as chief or someone else’s career?,” Cipparone added. “And why, over the course of a hundred hours, are there only very few recordings, as I understand it, and only for the most part toward the end, where there’s any, let’s say, indelicate comments made?”
Nucera entered a not guilty plea at Thursday’s arraignment in Camden federal court to charges that include hate crime assault, civil rights violations and making false statements. He remains free on bail.