NJ Politics Digest: Ex-Port Authority Commish Now Says Cops Need to Work on ‘Tone’

Caren Z. Turner. Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Women's Campaign Fund

Caren Z. Turner, the former Port Authority commissioner whose roadside encounter with Tenafly police is now a must-see viral video, apologized for her behavior on Wednesday, but told cops they need to work harder to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Turner, who during the incident flashed her Port Authority badge, tried to give officers her business card, cursed at them and insisted on being addressed as “commissioner,” contends she never tried to intimidate the officers or exercise privilege as a highly placed public official.

“At no point did I violate the Port Authority’s Code of Ethics or ask for special treatment for anyone involved, nor did I suggest, in any way, that I would use my position at the Port Authority to affect the outcome of the violations issued to the driver,” Turner said in a statement published on NJ.com.

Turner says she “let my emotions get the better of me” and regrets “my tone toward the police officers.” But Tenafly police, who have received widespread praise for their handling of the situation from others, need to act more professionally, according to Turner, a Democratic lobbyist who once was once the Port Authority’s ethics chairwoman.

“I encourage the Tenafly Police Department to review best practices with respect to tone and de-escalation, so that incidents like this do not recur,” Turner’s statement said.

Turner, however, is not likely to get a lot of support from her former political allies.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who had put Turner forward for the Port Authority post in part because she was “a women from Bergen County,” told POLITICO that she thought the former commissioner’s behavior was “stupid and boneheaded, completely inappropriate.”

Republicans, tired of hearing Weinberg and others complain of former Gov. Chris Christie’s bullying, wasted no time slamming Turner.

“You basically serve the people. You are not royalty. And she came across like she was royalty,” state Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, told POLITICO.

And now the Port Authority is re-examining its policy of issuing the gold badges that Turner flashed to commissioners, according to NJ101.5.

Quote of the Day: “I encourage the Tenafly Police Department to review best practices with respect to tone and de-escalation, so that incidents like this do not recur.” — Former Port Authority Commissioner Caren Turner, who resigned following an incident in which she insisted cops address her as “commissioner,” complained about an officer having a “smug-ass look” on his face and told the officers to “shut the “f— up.”

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NJ Politics Digest: Ex-Port Authority Commish Now Says Cops Need to Work on ‘Tone’