On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that Clark Township, New Jersey paid $400,000 to silence a whistleblower who came forward with recordings of the former Republican mayor, police chief, and his associates using racial slurs — but the whistleblower is now coming forward, claiming that the town is withholding his pension in retaliation.
"According to NJ.com, Antonio Manata, a former police lieutenant, recorded several Clark Township officials using racial slurs and making derogatory statements, then threatened to file a lawsuit exposing them. But Clark officials ultimately decided to fork over $400,000 to Manata under an agreement that required the ex-cop to turn over his recordings," reported Brooke Leigh Howard. "In seven recordings obtained and published by NJ.com, Manata captured the mayor and two top police officials referring to Black people as 'spooks,' 'shines,' and 'n—s.'"
Per the report, Black people account for less than 2 percent of the population of Clark Township.
"In one recording from 2019, Clark Township Mayor Sal Bonaccorso, a Republican serving his sixth term, was leaving a meeting at the Clark Recreation Center when an officer pointed out some ropes hanging from above and asked what they were. 'We [expletive] hang the spooks up there,' Bonaccorso responded as laughter filled the audio," said the report. "In another recorded conversation from 2019, Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos spoke about reopening a bias crimes investigation into the high school incident. 'I’m going to prove that them [expletive] n—-s did it,' Matos can be heard saying. In another recording, Internal Affairs Sgt. Joseph Teston allegedly said a Black suspect’s mugshot reminded him of a National Geographic photo and said he had a 'big [expletive] monkey head.'"
According to the report, Bonaccorso also said that he "hope[s] there [are] never any" women police officers, and that every woman put on the force has been a "[expletive] disaster."
This comes amid heightened scrutiny on the culture in police departments around the country. According to another report in February, the police chief of Castroville, Texas used the N-word at least three times while investigating a murder scene.
Listen to the recordings here, first obtained by NJ.com:
Hear Clark Township’s secret recordings herewww.youtube.com