Port Authority censures ex-commissioner for traffic stop

NEW YORK (AP) — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday formally censured a former commissioner caught on camera delivering a profane tirade to police during a traffic stop last month, and said it would review the use of official badges like the one she showed to the officers.

Caren Turner resigned last week as head of the authority’s governance and ethics committee, a position she was appointed to last year by former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The Port Authority operates the New York area’s bridges, tunnels, ports and airports, and is controlled by the governors of the two states. An internal investigation was underway and officials had contacted Turner for an interview just prior to her resignation, according to authority chairman Kevin O’Toole.

O’Toole on Thursday called Turner’s behavior during the traffic stop “profoundly disturbing,” ”demeaning” and “deplorable.”

Dashcam video released by the Tenafly police department showed Turner trying to pull rank on the officers after a car carrying her daughter was stopped for an expired registration on March 31. She became increasingly agitated and shouted an expletive at them.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Turner apologized for her behavior but said she didn’t seek to use her position to garner special treatment. She added that police should “review best practices with respect to tone and de-escalation, so that incidents like this do not recur.”

On Thursday, O’Toole said the officers “deserve the admiration of the public for their extraordinary professionalism.” He added that he had met with the chief of police in Tenafly, the town where the incident occurred, to apologize personally and was planning to meet with the two officers.

O’Toole also said the agency is reviewing the use of badges like the one Turner showed to the officers, and would make a decision in coming weeks.

In a separate statement released Wednesday, Tenafly Police Chief Robert Chamberlain thanked the Port Authority for its attention to the matter and said the “outpouring of support from people across the country has been truly heartfelt.”

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