Ex-police chief charged with hate crime called Trump 'last hope for white people'

A former New Jersey police chief who is facing a federal hate crime charge once said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE “is the last hope for white people,” according to a recording played before jurors during his trial.

The New York Times reported that former Bordentown Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr. is on trial in federal district court in New Jersey for a hate crime assault. He is accused of having slammed a black teenager's head into a doorjamb.

At the trial last week, prosecutors played a recording made by a former police colleague in which Nucera can be heard making the comment regarding Trump, the Times reported Tuesday, citing a recording it had obtained.

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Nucera also made comments about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats seek leverage for trial Davis: Trump vs. Clinton impeachments – the major differences Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' MORE in the lead-up to the 2016 election, saying that if she was elected she would "give it to all the minorities," the Times reported.

At the center of the assault trial is an allegation that Nucera grabbed the head of a black handcuffed suspect in a Sept. 1, 2016, arrest, and slammed it into a metal doorjamb. Prosecutors are trying to prove Nucera was motivated by his “intense racial animus.”

A criminal complaint filed in court shows Nucera allegedly told a colleague in 2015 that African Americans are “like ISIS, they have no value.”

Nucera’s lawyer Rocco Cipparone told the Times that the former police chief didn’t commit a hate crime. 

“These are embarrassing, ugly words, but if Frank Nucera did not strike this man, then the words are equally irrelevant,” Cipparone said. “It is not a crime, even for a police officer, to use that language. It’s not socially acceptable, it’s not appropriate, but it’s not criminal.”

Nucera resigned from the police department in 2017 following the incident. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

The trial came to a close Tuesday, the Times reports, without Nucera taking the stand. A verdict is expected this week.