NJ sheriff resigns after racist, homophobic recordings surface

NJ sheriff resigns after racist, homophobic recordings surface

BERGEN COUNTY, NJ (WCBS/WNYC/CNN) - The Bergen County Sheriff's Office no longer belongs to Michael Saudino.

He resigned Friday along with the four undersheriff's he appointed. The resignation came just one day after a recording of him going on a homophobic and racist rant was released by WNYC.

"In other words, let the blacks do whatever (expletive) they want – smoke marijuana, do this, do that and don't worry about it. We'll tie the hands of cops," Saudino said in the recording.

He also made comments about New Jersey's Lieutenant Gov. Sheila Oliver.

"Is she gay? Because she's never been married," he said. "Is she gay?"

Right now, the county prosecutor's office will oversee day-to-day operations while Chief Kevin Pell oversees policing operations.

Warden Steve Ahrendt will be the officer in charge of the jail.

It doesn't end there. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said his office will determine whether there are deeper issues that warrant a wider investigation.

Saudino was also recorded bashing Grewal, a Sikh man, for being appointed to the role of county prosecutor.

"He didn't do that to help our county. He did that because of the turban," Saudino said in the recording.

Before becoming sheriff, Saudino was the chief of the police department in Emerson, NJ. In a controversial move, he switched from Republican to Democrat a few years ago.

Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Dan Cassino said Democrats had to turn up the heat for Saudino to quit.

"The Democrats know that this is exactly the opposite of what they're trying to portray," he explained. "Bergen County itself is about 40 percent non-white at this point. And if they want to win those voters, they have to come out really hard against this. There's no place for this in the democratic party."

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