Chief of Police of Fanwood, N.J., Richard Trigo is stepping down in the wake of audio recordings alleged to be his voice, refer derogatory to the nation’s first Indian-American Sikh State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, surfaced. He also made sexually inappropriate references to the first Asian-American prosecutor in the state Grace Park.
In a July 13, 2020 press release, the acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced that her department would be temporarily overseeing the operations of the Fanwood Police Department. Trigo informed both Mayor Colleen Mahr and the Fanwood Borough Council on Friday July 10, that he would be stepping down effective Monday July 13, Ruotolo said, adding that the process of finding a replacement was already underway.
This July 4th, according to news reports, a YouTube audio recording became public in which a man’s voice, allegedly of Trigo, called Attorney General Grewal “That F…… guy with the turban? I wanna pull him like a top.” The recordings were uploaded by a user named Fanwood Exposed.
And about Park, the audio recording included sexually explicit comments about her being “pretty hot” and other more lewd suggestions.
Trigo’s lawyer Joshua McMahon however, told NBCnews July 13, that his client did not quit but rather was in the process of retiring on Sept. 1, 2020. “and until that time, elected to take leave to handle a family-related health issue.” In his statement, McMahon also said the recording were “manipulated and spliced,” to harm the name of a good man who had over his decades long career, hired more minorities than anyone else.
Ruotolo however, said an investigation into the recordings was in process, and in a statement July 14, she said, “If the recording is authenticated, and it is determined that the Chief of Police made the offensive comments in the recording, the Chief needs to immediately step down, or disciplinary action must be initiated to remove him from office,”
When the recordings surfaced, Attorney General Grewal held all those who heard the derogatory statements being made, accountable.
“If the comments in the recording were, in fact, made by Chief Trigo, this is yet one more reason why we need to continue building a culture of accountability in policing in New Jersey. Clearly, others were in the room when these comments were purportedly made by a law enforcement executive and they did nothing,” Grewal said in a statment to NJ Advance Media.
He went on to say, “They should have called out and reported the speaker’s blatant misogyny and racism. Because when an officer behaves in this manner, it tarnishes the reputation and good work of the vast majority of officers who know that this conduct has no place in law enforcement or in our society.”