TENAFLY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s board of directors blasted a former commissioner caught on tape ranting and cursing at police officers in New Jersey.
Caren Turner’s behavior in the video is now officially branded outrageous and indefensible by her former colleagues on the Port Authority board, which unanimously voted to publicly censure her.
The crystal clear dash cam video went viral on social media.
Turner arrived moments after the March 31 traffic stop on 9W because the apparently unregistered car police had pulled over had her daughter in it as a passenger.
She berated Tenafly police officers, yelled and cursed, and seemingly tried to pull rank, informing officers while flashing her business card that she had a big deal job, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
“The conduct is bullying and obstructionist,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole.
The first Port Authority board meeting since the incident and her resignation was held Thursday. Board members referred the matter to the New Jersey Ethics Commission.
The board also praised the Tenafly police for professionalism in the face of Turner’s aggressive, foul-mouthed onslaught, Carlin reported.
“They were composed. There was great restraint,” said Tenafly Police Chief Robert Chamberlain.
“Maybe she could have been arrested?” Carlin asked.
“I’ve been fielding a lot of calls. We could have, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” Chamberlain said. “Her daughter was right there so we didn’t feel it was necessary.”
There was no answer when Carlin tried to talk to Turner at her Tenafly home.
Through her attorneys, she said she was upset because her car was to be impounded, potentially leaving her daughter and friends stranded, but she added she regrets her actions, tone and use of off-color language:
Last month, my daughter and three of her friends were in a car that was pulled over by a Tenafly police officer for non-moving violations, including having tinted windows. The officers subsequently decided to impound the vehicle, leaving the four young adults on the side of a busy highway. Concerned, I hurried to the scene to assist them. 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. However, at no point did I violate the Port Authority’s Code of Ethics or ask for special treatment for anyone involved, nor did I suggest, in any way, that I would use my position at the Port Authority to affect the outcome of the violations issued to the driver. My resignation from the Port Authority is a recognition that this unfortunate incident could and should have been avoided. As a long-time Tenafly resident, I have always taken an active role in the community, including working with law enforcement officials, and I encourage the Tenafly Police Department to review best practices with respect to tone and de-escalation, so that incidents like this do not recur.
Chamberlain said he hopes the incident reminds everyone involved to keep their cool, when situations involving officers get heated.