In a shocking turn of events, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin has filed criminal charges against the mayor of Clark, Salvator Bonaccorso, after an investigation into alleged racial slurs made by the mayor. While in his official capacity as mayor, Bonaccorso allegedly operated his landscaping and illegal tank removal business out of his township office, using municipal resources to run the company.
The charges against Bonaccorso include witness tampering and falsifying records, including using an engineer’s name, license number, and forged signature on permit applications submitted to municipalities for tank removals. When CBS New York reached out to Clark Township for a comment on the charges, a spokesperson for Bonaccorso stated that he had no comment. Efforts to obtain a comment at the mayor’s residence were unsuccessful.
Residents of Clark have mixed reactions to the news. One resident stated that if a mayor or someone else is doing illegal things, they should resign. Another resident commented that Clark is a good place and that Bonaccorso made it better than the previous mayor. However, these comments were made before the charges were announced.
In addition to facing criminal charges related to his personal conduct as mayor, Bonaccorso has also been accused of racist comments in relation to other investigations involving police officers in New Jersey. A 43-page report released earlier this year found that racially-motivated arrests were made by police officials under Bonaccorso’s leadership and that there was a failure to investigate allegations of misconduct within the department. The report also noted that Black individuals were arrested at a disproportionate rate compared to other racial groups in New Jersey.
As a result of these findings, records obtained by the attorney general’s office were insufficient to charge police officials with wrongdoing in this case. However, the police department is now under county supervision as part of efforts to improve accountability and transparency within law enforcement agencies across New Jersey.