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Fanwood Chief Accused Of Racist, Sexist Comments Steps Down, Prosecutor's Office Takes Over

NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo, Former Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park
NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo, Former Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park Photo Credit: NJ Attorney General Facebook/Fanwoodpolice.org/Union County Prosecutor's Office

UPDATE: Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo has stepped down amid accusations that he made racist and sexist comments toward county and state officials. The Fanwood Police Department will be temporarily run by the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

The Union County Prosecutor's Office said Trigo resigned Friday, however, his lawyer said he had previously put in his retirement papers and would be taking a leave of absence because a family member is ill.

The prosecutor's office launched an investigation after Trigo was accused of saying former acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park -- the first Asian-American leader of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office -- was "pretty hot" and that she has "wide ones." 

Trigo was also accused of referring to NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the first Sikh state attorney general in the U.S., as that “that [expletive] guy with the turban” and saying, “I wanna pull him like a top."

The recording was posted to YouTube by "Fanwood Exposed" on July 4.

Trigo denied saying anything inappropriate, NJ.com reports.

Joshua McMahon, one of Trigo’s lawyers, said that the recordings had “unquestionably been manipulated and spliced” by someone who feels negatively about steps taken to reform the department under Trigo’s leadership — such as “hiring and promoting more minorities than any Chief in Fanwood’s history,” he said.

If the recording proves legitimate, Trigo will be removed or forced to step down, Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo said.

“Trigo continues to embarrass the Fanwood Police Department,” reads the caption of the 1 minute and 21 second video.

“Where is the outrage for his racist and sexist comments? Why is he immune from being held accountable?” 

Additional videos on the channel allege Trigo has ordered officers to harass people, threatened PBA members, illegally dumped personal trash in the borough dumpster numerous times, and has been "lying through his teeth."

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr has expressed her intent to fully cooperate with the investigation.

“I have zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination and take these allegations and this tape very seriously,” Mahr told NJ.com. “It is my expectation that a full investigation will be conducted and that we will cooperate with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.”

Click here for more from NJ.com.

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