September 24, 2018 (New York, NY) - Bergen County, New Jersey Sheriff Michael Saudino resigned on Friday, September 21st. His resignation came within 24 hours of a public recording in which he was heard making racist remarks
about the black community and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, while also making homophobic remarks about New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver.
In the recording that was made public on Thursday, September 20th, Sheriff Saudino is heard saying: “... let the blacks come in, do whatever the &*^% they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don't worry about it."
Sheriff Saudino also complained that Attorney General Grewal was appointed to his position solely because of his turban. While Sheriff Saudino apologized on September 20th, the mounting public pressure -- including from the Sikh Coalition empowering an overwhelming community response
-- led to his resignation on Friday, September 21st.
Within hours of the recording becoming public, the Sikh Coalition issued a press statement
demanding that Sheriff Saudino resign, and by the weekend the Sikh Coalition had mobilized community members to send over 1,700 emails to the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office demanding his resignation.
“We are grateful that the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office can start rebuilding trust within the communities and repair the relationships that Michael Saudino has tarnished,” said Sikh Coalition Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager, Sim J. Singh. “We still call upon the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office to conduct mandatory trainings for all of its officers on anti-bias and cultural awareness for the communities affected.”
The Sikh Coalition is formally submitting requests to the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office demanding that these trainings are conducted with the Sikh Coalition, as well as prominent black and LGBTQ organizations.
“This sort of bigotry is unacceptable and we must hold public officials accountable for the tone they set,” said Singh. “We thank everybody who took swift action to demand Sheriff Saudino’s resignation as we continue our never-ending efforts to end bias, bigotry and discrimination.”
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.