A New Jersey sheriff has resigned after he was recorded making racist comments about Black people and the state’s first Sikh-American attorney general, according to CBS News.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Friday that Michael Saudino stepped down from his post Friday.
“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 office wrote in a statement on Facebook.
Executive Undersheriff George Buono, Undersheriff Robert Colaneri, Undersheriff Brian Smith and Undersheriff Joseph Hornyak have also resigned.
On the tape, obtained by WNYC public radio and occurred in January during Gov. Phil Murphy’s inauguration, Saudino can be heard saying that the governor’s policies will allow Black people to “come in, do whatever the [expletive] they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that. And don’t worry about it. We’ll tie the hands of cops.”
He also said that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was appointed to the position because of “the turban.”
In a statement to CBS, Saudino said his words were “not representative of the person that I am and they are in no way consistent with the manner in which I have conducted my life personally and as a law enforcement professional with over 46 years of service to the residents of Bergen County.”
Before Saudino’s firing, Murphy had called for him to resign Thursday.
“Without question, the comments made on that recording are appalling, and anyone using racist, homophobic, and hateful language is unfit for public office,” Murphy told CBS News.
“I have thick skin and I’ve been called far worse,” Grewal said. “But the comments about the African-American community are wrong, racist and hurtful. New Jersey and Bergen County deserve better.”
Before he resigned, Saudino said he “reached out” and apologized to leaders within the communities he insulted and asked for forgiveness.
“I have personally offered my apologies and I have asked for their forgiveness and for their communities’ forgiveness.”