It goes without saying that police officers should always be treated with respect. Caren Z. Turner, a New York/New Jersey Port Authority commissioner, evidently never got that memo; she was caught on dash cam berating cops during a traffic stop involving her daughter over Easter weekend. As a result, she has resigned her position with the Port Authority. Watch the footage of the encounter above.
Politico says the incident started when Officer Matthew Savitsky of Tenafly Police Department spotted a car with tinted windows and an unclear plate driving on Route 9W. Savitsky and his partner pulled over the vehicle. The pair soon discovered that the car’s registration was expired and the driver’s insurance card was out of date. As a result, the vehicle would have to be towed.
Everything was going along swimmingly until Turner, who chaired the Port Authority’s Committee on Governance and Ethics, arrived on the scene. Her daughter was a passenger in the vehicle; she was about to drive her and the other people in the vehicle home.
In his report, Savitsky writes that Turner walked up to him and his partner and “began attempting to hand me a business card identifying herself as ‘the commissioner of the Port Authority.’” He added that Turner “also exhibited a full-size gold badge in a badge wallet that had the same printed on it. She then began a line of questioning in a demanding nature.”
The dash cam video backs up Savitsky’s version of events. It shows Turner angrily approach the two officers. She introduces herself and calls herself a “concerned citizen” and a “friend of the mayor.” She then demands to know the reason for the traffic stop. The officers tell her to ask the driver. They explain that everybody in the vehicle is an adult and they aren’t legally required to tell her.
Turner then busts out her Port Authority credentials. She claims that, as the “commissioner of the Port Authority,” she heads up over 4,000 police officers. The Port Authority told Politico that it actually employs around 1,600 officers.
One of the officers then addresses Turner as “Miss.”
“No, don’t call me miss, I’m ‘Commissioner,’ thank you” Turner angrily replies.
After a tense exchange that goes on for several minutes—during which Turner calls the officers “pathetic,” “smug” and unable to “put a sentence together”—the officers tell Turner she can now take her daughter and the other passengers away from the scene.
“You may not tell me when to take my child,” Turner says. “You may shut the f*** up and not tell me when I may take my kid and her friends, who are Ph.D. students from M.I.T. and Yale. … Shame on both of you.”
Turner resigned from her position in the New York & New Jersey Port Authority after word—and dash cam video—of her conduct got out.
“The video speaks for itself,” Port Authority spokesman Ben Branham said. “The conduct was indefensible. The board takes its recently adopted Code of Ethics for commissioners extremely seriously and was preparing to form a special committee to review the findings of the inspector general investigation and take action at this Thursday’s board meeting. Commissioner Turner’s resignation was appropriate given her outrageous conduct.”
The Port Authority Commissioner
Turner, 60, was appointed to her role in the Port Authority last year by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.). A quick Google search reveals her to be the founder and CEO of Turner GPA (Government and Public Affairs), a Washington, D.C.-based PR firm.
In addition to her work in the Port Authority and at Turner GPA, Turner served as the national finance committee co-chair for Ready for Hillary, a super PAC for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign. Furthermore, Turner served on finance committees for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and former Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.)
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