ADVERTISEMENT

Hate crime trial of former NJ police chief ends in mistrial

December 1, 2021 GMT

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A retrial in the hate-crime case against a former New Jersey police chief ended without a verdict Wednesday.

A federal judge declared a mistrial after jurors couldn’t reach a verdict in the trial of Frank Nucera, the former police chief of Bordentown, near Trenton. Nucera faced one count each of hate crime assault and deprivation of civil rights, for allegedly slamming a handcuffed Black man’s head into a doorjamb in 2016 while two officers were escorting the man from a hotel. Nucera had pleaded not guilty.

The jury had begun deliberating Monday afternoon. In 2019, a separate jury deadlocked on the same charges but convicted Nucera of lying to the FBI, and he was sentenced to 28 months in prison on that count.

Nucera has remained free on bail as the case has progressed. He retired in 2017 during the FBI investigation.

Through a spokesperson, the U.S. attorney’s office didn’t comment on the mistrial and said a decision hadn’t been made on whether to retry Nucera a third time.

Nucera’s attorney, Rocco Cipparone, said in an email that the hung jury “confirms what we always contended: that there is substantial reasonable doubt as to the allegations that Mr. Nucera used excessive force on Mr. Stroye, did so because of his race, or that he even physically struck Mr. Stroye at all.

“It is our cautious hope that after almost five years of litigation including many motions, two lengthy hard litigated trials resulting in two mistrials, with the nature of the evidence and testimony, the government will choose not to retry Mr. Nucera for a third time,” Cipparone added.