Lawyers: Demoting Chief for Profiling Email Unfair

WYCKOFF, N.J. (AP) -

The lawyer for a New Jersey police chief facing demotion for sending an email advocating racial profiling called the punishment exceptionally inappropriate and said the town is pandering to ultra-liberals.

Wyckoff officials initiated the action against Police Chief Benjamin Fox after acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal on Tuesday found that the chief’s 2014 email “explicitly” violated a 2005 state directive prohibiting racial profiling.

Fox’s email said profiling has its place in law enforcement if done correctly. It also said that “black gang members from Teaneck commit burglaries in Wyckoff. That’s why we check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods.”

Grewal admitted that an investigation didn’t uncover “any substantiated instances” of racial profiling by Wyckoff officers. Mayor Kevin Rooney said in a statement Wednesday that Fox’s actions were an “isolated incident” and that there are no “systemic problems” in the police department.

The firm representing Fox accused the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which made Fox’s email public in March, of inflaming a “benign situation.”

Fox was suspended with pay in May. His attorneys plan to appeal.