NJ Politics Digest: Bergen Sheriff Under Fire After Recording of Racist Rant Surfaces

Saudino is the current sheriff.

Michael Saudino is Bergen County Sheriff. Michael Saudino

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino is facing calls for his resignation from Gov. Phil Murphy and other state officials after WNYC reported on a secret recording in which the sheriff made racist comments about African Americans and state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Saudino apologized Thursday night, but did not offer his resignation.

In the recording, which the radio station says was made on January 16, Saudino reacted to Murphy’s inauguration speech by saying: “He talked about the whole thing, the marijuana, sanctuary state… better criminal justice reform. Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the f*** they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Saudino later said that Murphy selected Grewal as the state’s top law enforcement officer because “of the turban,” according to the WNYC report.

Saudino was formerly police chief of the Bergen County borough of Emerson. He was elected sheriff as a Republican in 2010, but changed parties in 2016 and won a third term.

He earns a $130,312 salary as sheriff and another $129,987 annually for his chief’s pension, according to NJ.com.

In a written statement, Saudino apologized to Bergen County residents and said the remarks “are not representative of the person that I am, and they are in no way consistent with the manner in which I have conducted my life.”

He said he has reached out to the leaders of communities he has offended to offer his apologies.

Quote of the Day: “I can tell you that we are looking into it.” — Education Department spokesman Michael Yaple, on reports that state funding was used to purchase creationist textbooks for a religious school in Lakewood.

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NJ Politics Digest: Bergen Sheriff Under Fire After Recording of Racist Rant Surfaces