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Archived: Sheriff in New Jersey Resigns After Recordings of Racist Remarks Surface

A sheriff in Bergen County, N.J., resigned on Friday after racist comments he made about Black people, and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, were released to the public.


Following New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s inauguration on Jan. 16, Michael Saudino, who attended, can be heard in audio clips, released by WNYC this week, complaining about Murphy and his decisions.

“He talked about the whole thing, the marijuana, sanctuary state,” Sheriff Saudino said.

He then lamented Murphy seeking “better criminal justice reform.”

“Christ almighty, in other words let the Blacks come in, do whatever the f**k 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 said.

Murphy, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno 5643 percent. A major part of his platform was the promise to pursue multiple criminal justice reforms, including creating a commission to examine laws such as mandatory minimums, expand body cameras on police officers, fully implementing bail reform that is designed to end cash bail in New Jersey, and legalize recreational marijuana and pot dispensaries.

Saudino’s ire didn’t stop at criminal justice reform. He then turned to criticize Grewal.

He said that Murphy appointed him attorney general (the first Sikh in the country to hold the position) “because of the turban.”

Murphy wanted him gone.

“Without question, the comments made on that recording are appalling, and anyone using racist, homophobic, and hateful language is unfit for public office,” he told WNYC, in a statement. “If, indeed, that is Sheriff Saudino’s voice on the recording, he must resign.”

Murphy didn’t have the authority to remove him from office.

On Thursday, Saudino, a Democrat, apologized for the racist remarks he made, but had no intention of resigning.

“Going forward, I will treat everyone with respect and dignity that is deserved by all,” he said.

But Saudino and four undersheriffs submitted their resignations on Friday, the Bergen County Sheriff’s office said, in a statement, posted on Facebook.

“The sheriff was elected in 2016 to his third term,” according to NJ.com. “He switched parties for his third term. Saudino ran as a Republican for his first two terms as sheriff.”

He would have been up for re-election in November 2019.

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