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Report: N.J. Sheriff Caught on Tape Slamming Black People for Smoking Weed

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says if the report is true, the sheriff "must resign."

Bergen County Sheriff's OfficeBergen County Sheriff's OfficeA New Jersey sheriff is under fire for a recording in which he is reportedly heard making racially charged comments about black people and marijuana. He also allegedly claimed the state's Sikh attorney general was appointed only due to his "turban" and speculated about the sexual orientation of New Jersey's unmarried lieutenant governor.

Details of the recording, which was obtained yesterday by the public radio station WNYC, were made public as New Jersey gets closer to legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who took office in January, promised during his campaign to legalize weed, and the state legislature generally seems to support the idea, as Reason's Eric Boehm reported last month.

Not all elected officials in the state agree. After Murphy was sworn in on January 16, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino reportedly disparaged the new governor's inauguration speech. Speaking with colleagues in a county office building, he took issue with Murphy's views on criminal justice reform. According to WNYC, Saudino said:

[Murphy] talked about the whole thing, the marijuana, sanctuary state...better criminal justice reform. Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that, and don't worry about it. You know, we'll tie the hands of cops.

It didn't stop there. Saudino then took aim at New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a Sikh, saying Murphy appointed him only because of "the turban," WNYC reports.

The station says Saudino also asked about Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver's sexual orientation. "Is she gay? Because she's never been married," Saudino reportedly said.

Saudino, a Democrat, is in his third term as Bergen County sheriff. His office did not return Reason's request for comment in time for publication.

In a statement, Murphy denounced Saudino's reported remarks. "Anyone using racist, homophobic and hateful language is unfit for public office," he said, adding that Saudino "must resign" if the voice in the recording is his.

Saudino's alleged comments linking African Americans to marijuana aren't even accurate. The Washington Post reported in 2013 that black and white people consume marijuana at about the same rate, although black people are far more likely to be arrested for doing so. That's why, as Reason's Jacob Sullum has noted, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) supports legalizing marijuana at the federal level.

This is not the first time in recent months that a New Jersey elected official has been accused of making an outlandish claim about weed. In July, state Sen. Ron Rice (D–Newark) expressed concern that if weed is legalized, dispensaries will sell "sex toy oils with marijuana."

Photo Credit: Bergen County Sheriff's Office

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  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    At least it's New Jersey. Can't think of a more deserving place.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Archie Bunker lives on!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Archie loved black people. Like when he met Sammy Davis Jr. and called him the ace of spades.

  • Libertymike||

    Maybe the sheriff has been critical of EYE-talians smoking weed as well.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Fuckin' eye-ties!

  • perlchpr||

    Is it "tying the hands of cops" when you just, y'know, make something legal?

  • Juice||

    Damned straight. The more things that are illegal, the more free the cops are to...um...do their jobs.

  • DiegoF||

    Didn't one of the youngest Kennedy generation currently in office say this very same thing recently, minus the racial angle? That weed legalization was going to remove an important law enforcement tool?

  • No Longer Amused||

    Because they see themselves not only as the enforcers of random morality, but want free reign to arrest you for anything at all based on "reasons"

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Cops like Saudino think that the real purpose for making marijuana illegal is that it gives them an excuse for stopping, harassing, and arresting black people. If Saudino could simply outlaw black people, he wouldn't object to marijuana.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's ok, we've got texting-in-your-car and good old fashioned smoking legislation to replace that. In fact, I believe just selling loose cigarettes on the streets will attract the attention of the Boys in Blue, but that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  • damikesc||

    So, hes like Dems except not bashing white men?

    Got it.

    I dislike ALL racism, personally. But, hey, YMMV

  • DiegoF||

    What, a Democrat being racist against a race other than whites strikes you as a novelty? Come on now.

  • vek||

    It is a novelty nowadays! I mean they implicitly do it all the time, but it was only old school Dems who actually said it. Clearly this guy is an old school 70s style Dem still, he didn't get the memo you're not supposed to say these things out loud anymore!

  • The Squat Team||

    This is exactly the kind of jackass that would say stuff about blacks smoking a lot more weed than anyone else. How do these people become cops.

  • Tony||

    No requirements for academic excellence?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Judging from his picture and his comments, he was grandfathered in. Growing up in Bergen County, plenty of Democrats said racist and homophobic things here in decades past. Not the majority, but enough oddballs to discredit the party's claim to be free of hate. It has gotten better. We've got a few stragglers who need to be addressed.

    Guess next week is a good time to ask the Bergen County Freeholders if I could get my bandanna back. ;)

  • Jerryskids||

    Any of these guys named D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty? Are they from Connecticut and New York? Do they impregnate young white girls? It could be worse.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The Bergen County residents who just moved in from Connecticut tend to be of the White flight variety.

  • ||

    Speaking with colleagues in a county office building, he took issue with Murphy's views on criminal justice reform.

    Uh. Imma need more information on this. I'm against the guy holding a position of public power and trust, but this sounds a bit like a Donald Sterling situation and we'll have Kareem Abdul Jabar lecturing us about recording someone's private conversations and then broadcasting them over the radio. Seems like an ethics panel or oversight board or even just his boss(es) could've dealt with this issue.

  • DiegoF||

    I couldn't care less about the supposed privacy angle; I applaud any broadcast of the tapes. But indeed I also don't really give a shit about his snarky comments about two other pols, and would be rather contemptuous of any members of the political class that go around acting unbelievably scandalized and disgusted. Who the fuck cares.

    If this were an appointed police position, however, I'd applaud any calls for his immediate firing on the basis of his laments about legal weed tying his hands with the Negroes. Just because he's likely no worse than most brass doesn't mean we shouldn't take the opportunity to fuck someone with this mentality over--again, never mind that pretty much every brass has it.

    That this is instead an elected office means no one has the power to fire him. But I'm still not going to hesitate to join the outraged mob calling for his head.

  • Magnitogorsk||

    He's a public employee talking about work, with coworkers, at work. That's not a private conversation. And I don't exactly have a lot of faith that a cop's misconduct would ever be handled properly by "his bosses"

  • Tony||

    "sex toy oils with marijuana."

    Seems like a waste of marijuana.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Seems like a waste of sex toys to me.

  • Shirley Knott||

    And all I see is a wasted opportunity, because nobody is making this.
    Yet ;-)

  • sharmota4zeb||

    From this, we can infer that Tony has never tasted lubrication on a sex toy.

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    But he does have the IQ of a used dildo.

  • Tony||

    Do you know where people put those things?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

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

    My speculation when someone's never been married is, "What do they know that I don't?"

  • Tony||

    I'm no expert but marriage seems like something that requires a lot of individual, positive decisions before it happens.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You and I agree on this, it's just that some of us weren't equipped to make those well. You know, like the main character in the hit movie and broadway play, Waitress.

  • DiegoF||

    I keep getting that mixed up with Secretary.

  • In Time Of War||

    You're lucky. I didn't look closely enough and thought I'd bought a copy of Secretariat. Boy, was my family ever confused...

  • sharmota4zeb||

    I first heard Santana music, because I was trying to buy a Sinatra CD via the mail. Umm, A "CD" is a compact disc that had music recorded on it back in the day. "Mail", as opposed to "email", was an item delivered by the government agency that gave us the phrase: "Going Postal".

  • In Time Of War||

    Ha! My first car didn't use this new-fangledy, pinko-commie "unleaded" gas, the shoulder belt was folded up and held against the roof liner with clips (because we never used it) and it had an 8-Track player. Which my father installed, replacing the AM radio.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    I'm old enough to remember "Nine to Five".

  • Thomas O.||

    I remember it too. And incidentally, the three ladies did toke up one night on what Lily's character called the "Maui Wowi". :)

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I'm old enough to remember the more adult version, '8 to 4'.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "You and I agree on this..."

    How painful was that to type?

  • Mark Question||

    Once again, Reason shows it's foolishness.

    1. Blacks are more likely to be arrested for marijuana, this is true. It's because they introduced it to our culture. Weed is alien to white European cultures by and large historically. The idea that it's because MUH SKIN COLOR is absurd. If you take the position that drugs are bad, undesirable, and people shouldn't consume them for their own good (which any sensible person does), then you have to concede the best way to curtail drug use is to focus on the minorities.

    2. Criminal Justice Reform is painfully obvious; it's a social justice warrior bait and switch. We're supposed to wring our hands over murderers and rapists being in jail too long? Seriously? When a libertarian talks about criminal justice reform he's really saying "give black people a pass for being thugs, give Mexicans a pass for being rapists, and give white criminals a pass for embracing the thuggish rapist culture of the brown people."

    3. Most women who've been unmarried that long are either gay or just hate men. The law of probability is on the Sherrif's side.

    But hey, let's all piss on this guy because he has a D in front of his name. I thought libertarians were about principle over partisanship?

  • Tony||

    I kinda like this new guy.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Yeah, he came out of nowhere and established himself as a stereotype with zero hesitation.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    And the best sort of stereotype, the sort that isn't obviously wrong, so you've got a basis for an interesting argument.

  • DiegoF||

    There IS no "white European culture." Everything you cavemen have brainwashed the masses into thinking was the accomplishment of the white European, was actually stolen by them, and originally created by the Black man. WHILE ON WEED.

    Check, and mate.

  • Tony||

    You say that like pillaging whole cultures isn't itself an accomplishment.

  • DiegoF||

    Stop, you. I am playing with the new boy.

  • Tony||

    How many times have I heard that.

  • vek||

    That would imply there was anything of value to steal from those cultures... Which really there wasn't. We took their land and natural resources, depending on the location in question, but we sure as hell didn't topple their advanced civilizations. Those didn't exist. A few in Asia were "civilized" cultures, but still very primitive technologically.

    Nations that were colonized saw their standard of living rise dramatically after colonization, and fall when the Europeans pulled out. Many of them are still far worse off than they were when colonized. Also, areas that were colonized are still richer than their nearest neighbors that weren't. They're still getting a "white people ran our country once!" bonus decades after we pulled out.

    So if white people are supposed to feel bad for winning wars we fought fair and square, and then making the conquered peoples lives better... Sorry, not getting an apology from me.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Exactly, Africa is the center of the free and business World and always has been.

  • Tony||

    It kinda was for the vast majority of human history.

  • vek||

    LOLOLOLOL

    Are you REALLY that ignorant of history??? Other than Arab north Africa, Africa has been the poorest and most backwards place in the world ever since people left Africa.

    Historically speaking the most advanced nation on earth has always resided in either the middle east, Europe, or east Asia. They've traded places back and forth a few times over the millennia, but Africa hasn't had that distinction since the stone age, and neither did the Americas, although they at least developed astronomy, math, architecture etc eventually, thousands of years after the old world had.

    You can make an argument that any of the above places have had their time in the sun... Other than Africa. There is simply no credible argument to be made there. Their greatest cultures were either still stone age, or greatly intertwined with the Arab world or the European world, where they got a lot of their technology from. Ethiopia would arguably be an example of a semi had their shit together nation, but they didn't do it on their own.

  • Imissbuckley||

    ""If you take the position that drugs are bad, undesirable, and people shouldn't consume them for their own good (which any sensible person does), then you have to concede the best way to curtail drug use is to focus on the minorities"

    Except most libertarians don't take this position. Most libertarians believe the War on Drugs is an assault on human liberty and believe the government shouldn't be arresting anyone unless they're actually hurting someone else.

    This is pretty much a universally held belief among libertarians and its the one issue that so-called left-leaning libertarians and so-called conservative leaning libertarians actually agree on.

    Most libertarians also want fewer laws on the books so fewer people are harassed by the police. The elimination of victimless crimes being the top priority for most libertarians.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Pretty sure you're responding to a parody.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Actually, I do take the position that (most) drugs are bad, undesirable, and people shouldn't consume them for their own good. Indeed, any sensible person does take that position.

    As a libertarian I just follow it up with, "But if somebody wants to drill a hole in their head and pour in battery acid, that's their business, not mine. How can we minimize the harm to people who aren't self destructive, and let the people who ARE self destructive get the job done without taking other people with them?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The one drug that might be worth banning is meth. Full dday sclosure though, I'm going through the work and expense to renovate a rental property where we had to to evict a meth addict who took reed it into a drug den. Out of two years as as tenant, he was fine for the first 20 months, then he spiraled downward at a surprising pace. Of the $25k worth PF damage, I'm pretty sure that 80% of it was done in the last 60 days he was there.

  • markm23||

    @Last of the Shitlords: Meth is available by prescription. Among other things, it's prescribed for ADHD children, if they react badly to Ritalin and to milder amphetamines. It's bad if mis-used, but so are most of the pills in a pharmacy, including aspirin and Tylenol. Most of the trouble with meth is that the war on some drugs made it sufficiently difficult to get the factory-made pills that people who can barely cook macaroni are trying to cook meth at home - just boiling off the toxic byproducts, leaving some toxins in the product, and guessing at the strength and dose. Or you can buy meth that might be more professionally made in Mexico, but you are dealing with criminal gangs.

    And the same is true of nearly every other drug targeted by the drug warriors - the effects of the drug war are worse than the drug.

  • vek||

    Other than super casual use of even some of the harder drugs, like say coke or ecstasy or whatever, hard drugs on the regular are definitely a horrible idea. Meth/heroin seem to be nearly impossible to do casually, and may well be in their own special category of fucked up because of that.

    But yeah, IMO it'd still be better if it's legal. I think deep down inside most libertarians make a distinction somewhat like Brett says, or like I say. They might not think weed is bad at all, because it barely is unless you're a super hardcore smoker. But most people don't really think doing meth is a good idea.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I cannot argue with this logic. Typical of Reason to run a hit piece on this public servant.

  • IceTrey||

    What do you think rope was made from back in the day?

  • Mongo||

    The sixth sick Sikh's sixth sheikh's sick 666.

  • loveconstitution1789||

  • DiegoF||

    I like this story!

  • No Longer Amused||

    I've always wondered why anyone thinks the police should really be weighing on what the policy should be. Their job is to enforce the law, not suggest what it "should" be.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If the Democrats are against it, who could be for it?

  • Rob Misek||

    The medical researchers trying to determine why marijuana causes mental illness have discovered correlation with genetic variances.

    https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research -reports/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana -use-psychiatric-disorders

    You or your children or your entire race may be predisposed. Good luck with that.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    So, kind of like American Indians and alcohol?

  • Rob Misek||

    I'll take the hangover, the mental illness is all yours.

  • vek||

    Genes are a bitch. Didn't read that article, but there is more and more evidence that almost ALL a persons personality traits, pros and cons of the way they think, predispositions, etc are HIGHLY genetic in origin. I could believe a theory that some groups have predispositions to excessive use of certain things for genetic reasons. It could be some random gene related to a positive trait, that when exposed to a certain chemical makes them more likely to find it extra enticing or whatever.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    He also allegedly claimed the state's Sikh attorney general was appointed only due to his "turban" and speculated about the sexual orientation of New Jersey's unmarried lieutenant governor.

    Or maybe someone with a religion that requires him to carry a weapon on him was drawn to the legal profession. It's like with Jewish lawyers, only we tend to be the ones taking care of the books. ;)

  • Bubba Jones||

    I don't get it. We already knew that cops are assholes. This is not new information.

    And he isn't accused of actually doing anything. Only if saying things that are unpopular.

    Isn't this something the voters can sort out?

  • Eddy||

    I imagine there might be legal headaches for the cops if one of this guy's men arrests a black person - especially for marijuana. The arrestee might say he's being subject to racial discrimination, and back up his claim by citing this audiotape of the person supervising arrests in the county.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I was told that on no uncertain terms that the entire east coast was free of this type of person.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    If he's right, and people in New Jersey can smoke marijuana and do whatever the hell they want (that doesn't hurt others) and the cops' power will be greatly diminished...It might actually be a good place!

  • vek||

    "Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that, and don't worry about it."

    I think the "do this, do that" bit is an important one here. The fact is blacks commit basically all crimes at far higher rates than any other group. He's obviously worried a lot more about stuff other than smoking weed. It's kind of like saying "Those drunken Irishmen coming in here, starting fights, stealing shit, committing crime." Yeah, they're drunks, but it's the other part that REALLY worries you. I'm pretty sure is getting high was the ONLY thing blacks did he wouldn't care so much... It's the fact that they murder people at about 10x the rates of whites, something like 7x for assault, etc. He's obviously just a hard line law and order type, and he's not wrong that blacks are the ones that commit crimes. Like it or not, it's a fact.

    NOW I buy the idea that they get busted for weed at higher rates, even if whites smoke at the same rate... But how much of that is because of other factors. Going out and standing "on the block" smoking a joint, versus doing it in your living room watching YouTube vids. In my personal life I've seen a lot more irresponsible dope smoking from brothas than honkies. Unlike half of you people, I've actually lived in minority majority areas. Personally, I think getting busted while doing other stupid shit is probably the reason for the disparity for even weed in the black community.

  • Alan@.4||

    I'm an old grouch, born and raised in NYC, long since departed that vale of tears, worked in New Jersey once up on a time, much prefer Scotch though to each their own. That said, N.J., like some other jurisdictions, is anathema to constitutional rights, the acts of their lgisl

  • Alan@.4||

    Computer stopped registering, so will make another effort at completion. The above should read acts of their legislature. Which given the U.S. Constitution and it's provisions should long since been declared null and void by fe

  • Alan@.4||

    Things aren't working, for some reason, I give up.

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