CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — The sentencing of a former New Jersey police chief, who was convicted of lying to the FBI and is awaiting retrial on hate crime assault and civil rights violation charges, was postponed.
Former Bordentown Township police chief Frank Nucera, 64, had been scheduled for sentencing April 16 on the lone federal conviction. But a federal judge rescheduled the proceedings for May 13, citing “serious medical issues” that hospitalized the defendant for nine days in February.
“I do believe that he is not, at this point, physically well enough to continue,” Kugler said during a brief conference call Thursday.
Nucera’s attorney, Rocco Cipparone Jr., said he has only communicated with his client once by phone and once by email since he was released from the hospital.
“I have had no meaningful substantive communication with him,” Cipparone said.
Nucera was convicted of the count in October 2019 by a jury that deadlocked on two more serious charges — hate crime assault and deprivation of civil rights under color of law. Federal authorities have said they plan to retry him on those charges but the proceedings have been on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those counts stem from a September 2016 incident at a Bordentown Township hotel in which Nucera, who is white, was accused of slamming a handcuffed Black man’s head into a doorjamb. Nucera resigned from the police force in January 2017 upon learning of the federal investigation. He denied committing an assault.
Prosecutors said an officer secretly recorded Nucera's comments over the course of a year out of concern over what they termed “racist remarks and hostility toward African Americans.” Cipparone had argued that some officers wanted to get rid of Nucera because of his tough disciplinary policies.
Bordentown is a predominantly white town of about 11,000 that is a few miles from Trenton, New Jersey's capital city that has a large Black population.