NJ official flashed her badge, yelled at cops, says she broke no rules
TENAFLY — Former Port Authority Commissioner Caren Turner issued an apology for her behavior at her daughter’s traffic stop, but denied asking for special treatment and still blamed Tenafly Police for escalating the situation.
Turner's daughter was in a car stopped on Easter Sunday on Route 9W in Tenafly for several violations, including an expired Nevada registration. After Turner said police were going to impound the car, leaving her daughter and three others along the road, she went to the scene.
Dashcam footage released by Tenafly Police showed the political consultant berating the officers after they would not tell her what was going on.
After showing a gold badge issued to Port Authority commissioners and demanding she be addressed as "commissioner," she identified herself as a friend of the mayor's, and pledged, "I will be talking to the chief of police." In response, the officers offered up their full names and encouraged her to do so.
"You may not tell me when to take my daughter," she eventually told an officer. "You may shut the f*** up."
In her statement hand-delivered to the news website Politico New Jersey by her lawyer, Turner said she regrets the tone she took with the officers.
"As a parent, I was upset and uncomfortable with the unfolding events. I let my emotions get the better of me and regret my tone toward the police officers and use of off-color language. For this, I apologize,” she wrote.
Turner denied violating the Port Authority's Code of Ethics or asking for special treatment.
"My resignation from the Port Authority is a recognition that this unfortunate incident could and should have been avoided," she said
The Port Authority called her behavior "outrageous."
Turner also called on Tenafly Police to "review best practices with respect to tone and de-escalation, so that incidents like this do not recur."
That's not likely to happen, after Tenafly Police Chief Robert Chamberlain issued a statement supporting the "composure, poise and restraint" shown by the responding officers.
"I truly believe their professionalism is a representation of the greater law enforcement community and is reflective of new training initiatives to assist law enforcement personnel in similar situations," Chamberlain said in a statement.
Police released the incident report from the traffic stop showing the officers said Turner spoke in a "condescending" tone and attempted to "misappropriately" use her professional position to gain authority in the situation. The officers said that she went to police headquarters.
According to report, the driver, John Rula, was also issued tickets for having an obstructed license plate and not having a valid insurance card.
The website for Turner's company, Turner Government and Public Affairs, was taken offline and displays only a message that the site is "forbidden" to those trying to access its content.
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