CLARK — Governor Phil Murphy and the Mayor of Plainfield are calling on Clark Township Mayor Sal Bonaccorso to resign after secret tape recordings captured racist and sexist remarks on tape.
In a whistleblower lawsuit, police Lt. Antonio Manata claimed to have taped Mayor Bonaccorso, Clark’s police chief, and an internal affairs supervisor. The tapes, first published by NJ.cominclude a myriad of racist slurs, misogynistic comments and remarks.
The recordings are publicly available at Youtube. They include disturbing language, including the N-word, “spooks”, and other slurs.
Adding to the controversy, Clark reportedly agreed to pay Manata $400,000 to turn over the tapes and not make them public.
Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp, who is black, told New Jersey 101.5 that he was offended by the racist and misogynistic comments. He called them “staggering” and “reprehensible.”
Bonaccorso did not respond to New Jersey 101.5’s request for comment. NJ.com reported that he repeatedly refused to listen to the recording and said only that he could not “remember” using offensive language.
Mapp thinks this is clearly Bonaccorso’s voice on tape. The Union County mayor thinks it’s time for his Clark counterpart to step down.
“I found that in our time, for a mayor of a city, to echo the comments that he made, the racist and misogynistic comments, I found that very disturbing,” said Mapp, a Democrat. . “And I hope the right people at Clark will respond and take action that could lead to his removal, quite frankly. He doesn’t deserve to be in public office.”
The secret tapes reference a 2017 incident at Arthur L. Johnson High School. A black puppet was left hanging by a string for the Plainfield women’s basketball team before a game against Clark.
Just days after the image sparked public outrage on FacebookMayor Bonaccorso, a Republican, went to Plainfield City Council to formally apologize.
“I don’t know all the details, but what I’m here to say is who this offended, the people on your team, your city and your school district, me, the city council and the locals. from Clark humbly excuse me,” Bonaccorso said, according to MyJerseyCentral.
In the recording of July 20, 2019, a voice identified by the whistleblower as being that of Bonaccorso recalls his vision of events. A transcript of the conversation is below.
“What are the ropes for?
“We f–king hang ghosts up there.”
“So the ALJ incident starts again.”
“It was so [expletive] bulls–t”
“It was fucking stone bulls–t”
“The worst was the teachers [inaudible] this.”
“What if I were to go to the Plainfield [expletive] council meeting in front of a room full of them and get up and talk about it?”
Currently serving in his third term, Mapp remembers the incident and the apology that followed well. But in light of recent allegations against Bonaccorso, Mapp says the apology now rings hollow.
“Obviously his comments at the time were not genuine,” Mapp said.
While Plainfield’s largest demographic is Hispanic, the recent US census found nearly 40% of its population is black. Meanwhile, Clark is 92% white with less than 2% of its residents identifying as black.
Despite recent events, Mapp said he did not want to generalize Clark residents. Still, he noted that Bonaccorso had garnered support to serve as township mayor for more than 20 years.
“I’m concerned that there is an attitude within Clark’s PD that may lead them to profile and target black people as they pass through Clark Township,” Mapp said. “And having the mayor be part of those conversations was very disturbing.”
Murphy also asks Bonaccorso to resign.
“Governor Murphy is deeply troubled by these allegations, both in terms of the hateful language and the subsequent diversion of city resources aimed at a misguided attempt to obscure the truth,” spokeswoman Alyana Post said. “There is no place in government or law enforcement for these unacceptable words and actions.”
It has been nearly two years since the Union County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into the Clark Township Police Department. The state attorney general’s office and county prosecutors promise a report amid credible misconduct allegations.
“I hope the investigation will lead to the truth and those who participated in this behavior will be held accountable,” Mapp said.
How the World Seen New Jersey—1940s to 1980s
This is how New Jersey saw the world from 1940 to 1980. All of these photos are from AP and Getty publications, which means they were used in a magazine or newspaper. There have been many inventions and stories made in New Jersey. Check the photos below.