A white New Jersey mayor ordered police to remove a Black man from a municipal building because of concerns over violence and “feeling unsafe,” according to a lawsuit filed last week.
Spotswood Mayor Jackie Palmer is seen and heard on video footage recorded during the incident in 2022 via police bodycams, NJ Advance Media reported. The unidentified citizen who was ordered removed from the Spotswood Municipal Building “is f—— Black and this is not a diverse town,” Palmer said in the video.
“I don’t need BLM and the KKK fighting on our front steps over this,” Palmer also said on video.
More from NJ Advance Media:
The alleged interaction with Palmer was reported to police on April 25, 2022, when the Black resident arrived at the Spotswood Police Department to complain the mayor had accosted him three days earlier.
“He advised that he was the only Black person in the building at that time, and he was approached multiple times,” by Palmer, the suit says. “He advised that he did not see J. Palmer approach any other people in the municipal building on this date.”
On April 28, 2022, the Black resident returned to the municipal building and began recording “so as to document any wrongdoing,” the suit says. A short time later, Spotswood police received a call from borough employees.
“Certain borough employees asked for police escorts to their offices, as they felt unsafe,” the suit says. “Throughout this time, the resident did nothing inappropriate and was not threatening in any manner.”
When the police told Palmer that it was illegal to remove a citizen from public property for doing nothing wrong, the mayor refused to take no for an answer and suggested the Black man’s mere presence provoked fear, NJ Advance Media reported:
“Let me just be clear that if we call downstairs, I expect someone f—— here. I cannot and will not tolerate anybody feeling unsafe here,” Palmer allegedly said, according to the suit.
Palmer said that perhaps the man had not taken “his meds,” might have take a knife “from somewhere” and might be waiting for her to come out of her office to use the bathroom, the suit alleges.
“I get f—— shanked because he decided he wanted to wait to see me,” Palmer allegedly said to the officers, according to the lawsuit.
Those documented words about the Black resident are included in a lawsuit against Palmer by a veteran police officer who has accused the mayor of refusing to promote him.
In a previous court filing, Spotswood Police Department senior patrolman Richard Sasso Jr. claimed Palmer refers to herself as a “rockstar” who won’t promote people she doesn’t like.
This is America.
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