UPDATE: 1:44 p.m. EDT — What a difference a few hours makes. As of this morning, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino was refusing to resign after making homophobic and racist remarks. Now, Saudino has resigned and so has his top staff. A statement posted on the Bergen County Facebook page read, “The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office announces that effective this date and at this time Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino has submitted his resignation as the Sheriff of Bergen County.”
The statement continued, “Additionally, Executive Undersheriff George Buono, Undersheriff Robert Colaneri, Undersheriff Brian Smith and Undersheriff Joseph Hornyak have also submitted their resignations effective immediately.”
Saudino was elected sheriff back in 2010 as a Republican. Although he “resigned” — that more than likely means he was pushed out.
Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino thinks his apology is enough after he was caught making racist comments. Saudino, who has been in law enforcement for 46 years, made remarks about the Black community, Sikhs and accused a woman of being a lesbian because she is not married. He refuses to step down from his position.
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Saudino released a statement yesterday, which read, “During my time as the Bergen County Sheriff I have worked hard to successfully increase the diversity of the membership in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department. This increased diversity has been accomplished while working hand-in-hand with the members and leadership of our minority communities in Bergen County.”
He continued, “In an effort to repair the damage to the friendships that I have built with these communities, I have reached out directly to several respected leaders in the communities I have offended and I have personally offered my apologies and I have asked for their forgiveness and for their communities’ forgiveness. Going forward I will continue to treat everyone with the respect and dignity that is deserved by all and to be diligent in my duty to protect and defend the rights of all our residents.”
However, he refuses to resign after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called for him to step down.
In the audio recordings, made on January 16 following Murphy’s gubernatorial inauguration, Saudino said, “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 fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”
He also complained that Murphy appointed Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who is Sikh, because of “the turban.”
Grewal responded to the comments by saying, “I’ve got thick skin and I’ve been called far worse, but the comments about the African-American community are wrong, racist and hurtful. New Jersey and Bergen County deserve better.”
New Jersey and Bergen County certainly deserves better, but Saudino is truly owning his privilege by refusing to resign.