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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    A New Low


Police and
Law Enforcement News





Mayor Steve Lonegan

A New Low
The Race Card Gets a New Twist
Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 6:50 a.m.

So, what do you do when you’re a high profile New Jersey mayor known for having a tough stance against illegal immigration and you get caught hiring two illegal immigrants?

You blame the cops!

On Monday, October 8, 2007 members of the Bogota Police Department were dispatched to a report of two Hispanic males in a house that was supposed to be vacant. Officers responded and detained the two subjects who were found in the garage.


One of the men was arrested for giving a false name. The officers reportedly tried contacting the realty agency on the “for sale” sign to locate the owner but had no luck.

They all went back to their headquarters where one of the men was charged, presumably with “Hindering” for giving the false name.


These are the truncated facts as described by the Bogota Police Department.

It was later learned that the two men were working for the Mayor of Bogota, Steve Lonegan. You may remember Lonegan from his run for governor. Steve Lonegan is also known for his hard line stance against illegal immigration.

Once the details came out, the media quickly picked up the story. Mayor Lonegan’s critics and political adversaries had a field day going after him in the papers and in the blogs.

But now we get to the meat and potatoes.

Facing a growing crisis, Lonegan resorted to some absolutely repugnant gutter tactics that some believe were designed to take the heat off of him. Mayor Lonegan came out and publicly said that the police officers who handled the call were engaging in racial profiling. He also declared that the incident was in retaliation for contract issues between the Bogota officers and the town.

Below are some quotes made by Lonegan after the incident:

Bergen Record, October 14, 2007

"This is a racial profiling issue, because I won't give them lifetime medical benefits, that's why," said Lonegan, referring to the police.

"They [the officers] had only one reason to go onto my property, and that's because [the workers] were Hispanic," said Lonegan. "So they actually picked these guys from private property."

Bergen Record, October 16, 2007

"These two guys did not deserve to be put through this," he said. "These guys got hurt by malicious cops. If the police had called me, I would have come right down and straightened it all out."

Jersey Journal, October 15, 2007l

"I want to know why these guys were detained," Lonegan said. "These guys had one problem, and that's that they were Hispanic-looking."

The job of mayor for any municipality is a position of trust and great responsibility. Under this umbrella fall not only the town’s residents but also those who work for the municipality. A claim by a mayor that two police officers under his employ are engaging in racial profiling is heard far and wide.

Such a claim should be reserved for the most serious of situations when there is substantial evidence to prove such an accusation. Even then, words should be measured as all – even police officers – are entitled to a fair trial.

The crime of racial profiling falls under N.J.S.A. 2C:30-6, Official Deprivation of Civil Rights, a crime that goes as high as second degree. Of course, if this charge were lodged, a charge of 2C:30-2, Official Misconduct, would almost certainly be attached. It too is a second-degree offense.

Accusations of such heinous behavior should not be thrown around loosely especially from a pulpit as powerful as that of a sitting mayor.

That a mayor can be so reckless with his words is despicable. That a mayor can publicly besmirch the names of two policemen when the only evidence is the fact that the two men were Hispanic is something we expect from race baiters like Sharpton and Barron, not from elected leaders.

This is a new low even on the New Jersey scale.

Civility has all but disappeared from American politics, and that’s very unfortunate. However, police officers didn’t sign up for that racket and we shouldn’t sit silent when such takes place.

This mayor publicly accused these officers of criminal conduct punishable by prison time. By now, the officers’ families, friends, and citizens of the town have all heard the mayor’s claim as the story was picked by several local and regional news outlets.

As we write this piece, new facts continue to emerge as to what transpired that day. Lonegan’s story is crumbling, and hopefully, the public sees through his shirade.

Bogota FOP Lodge 161 quickly came out and condemned the mayor’s comments and is spearheading the defense of the officers. There were also reports of both a captain and the chief of Bogota publicly defending the officers involved. Cheers to all of you.

Hopefully, the State level FOP and PBA bosses and every other police group will collect the facts of this case and store them in a file reading “Open at Election Time.” Then, together we can all keep this episode fresh in everyone’s mind.

Mayor Lonegan, its simple: you were wrong, and you owe these officers a sincere apology. Try and walk away from this with at least some dignity. 


Share you Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each night. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission.  Use the scroll box below to submit your thoughts:



Your Responses

It is also very obvious that the Police Officers were on your property  with no Probable Cause. For no other reason than the men in question were Hispanic looking. Have they given any other cause? The reputation and service of the officers, is also not an issue. It they were wrong...they were wrong, admit it and move on. The law is the law, no matter who is being charged, we all have a right to due process. This is, so much, beginning to be an argument of fools about which came first, the chicken or the egg. Stand strong in your rights. All Americans (Black, Latino, Indian, Mexican, Irish, German, Australian, Asian, etc...) are in much need of education in these matters, and in the importance of the law according to the United States Constitution. We are all humans with the same inalienable rights and the same responsibilities, they need to stop trying to divide us. Peacefully, Dane

You people are such hypocrites. Why is it that any police officer I have ever seen testify in court ALWAYS lies, many times about absolutely heinous crimes they have committed? However, you all act so holier than thou whenever it even seems that somebody is being remotely evasive. I used to have friends on the force, and they always used to love to come and watch me play. I overheard them having a conversation one day about how you all seem to think that this entire population is nothing more than, "Police" and "Criminals". The current attitude of those CIVILIANS who have been co-opted into such a visceral dogma of hate and self loathing behind a (bleep) badge is certain to bring a [trouble] if you do not wake up and realize the aims of the despotic leaders you follow like a bunch of cowards. You must all begin to bring back the public trust. Those who are into such segregation will likely find no quarter. I have been recipient of many favors for the respect I give and command in all actions. You would be very wise to heed my words. Peace.

The officer's of the Bogota Police Department are some of the best officer's I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  They are some of the most compassionate and fairest individuals I have ever encountered.

I am appalled and disgusted by the comments made against my brother officer's. 

Work one shift with any of the officer's of the Bogota police dept. and you'll see the caliber of people your dealing with, some of the finest men and woman in the law enforcement community. 

I stand behind my brother's.

-A Bogota Police Officer

Ok, first off it sounds like these guys did the right thing! They responded to a potentially dangerous call and handled it in a great way. This mayor sounds like a back stabbing (bleep)  (much like all political figures) and I would love to see him strap on a gun and wear a badge and do the job that we all love to do everyday.

Its a sad day when the police do the right thing and still get the short end of the stick!  GREAT JOB GUYS KEEP IT UP AND STAY SAFE!

-PO from the Jersey Shore

The mayor is a pompous ass!  Unjustly chastising the officer for doing their jobs.  What a disgrace!  Maybe someone should check his immigration status too!!! 

Bottom line - if you are in the US illegally; you are violating the law.  Doesn't matter if you are white, Black, Asian or HISPANIC. 

Get the Mayor out of Office, he doesn't belong there.

Mayor Steve Lonegan is an absolute Tool who does nothing but abuse his power as he runs his mouth and touches himself. 

Sounds like Lonegan and his cronies that run Bogota need a visit from U.S. Attorney Chris Christie. 

First of all, if this mayor gets reelected then the town is a joke. If those 2
cops were casing the place then the cops would be blamed for not doing anything. I applaud my brother officers and remember you have the support of this officer from the city in motion.

-PO from City in Motion

I think the residents of Bogota, should know the real truth about the mayor they choose.  Maybe when he runs for re-election, this will remind them of how not to vote!! 

Job well done Bogota PD....

Same circus, different clowns! 

We have the same crap down here at the jersey shore.  Politics suck.

New to non residents, but usual business as residents see it.    Lonegan and his cronies have lied and created many situations in this small town that have made good honest volunteering residents leave for a more stable environment.  The politicians are very underhanded and it gets ugly in Bogota.  The people who don't already know, should.

The Mayor just can't see how good Bogota has it and how bad he is making it for the residents.  I hope someday Bogota gets a Mayor and council that appreciates all of its Police, Fire, EMS, Rescue, DPW, Town hall employees and residents.  As we speak now they do not!

-An ex-volunteering-resident!

Great job by those officers. I hope they called ICE. So when the two illegals
are questioned. They can tell the feds how the mayor was the one exploiting them.

So whose the real criminal?   I'll give you a hint its not the cops.

-Corrections Sgt

NJ is ripe with corrupt public officials. 

The police struggle every day due to lack of funds and resources and all these politicians can think of is saving face.  Its disgraceful and pathetic.  Name the last NJ mayor that died in the line of duty...yea that's what I thought. 

Give respect where its due.  

Good work boys...Take this crap for what it is...a peace of sh*t politician who got caught doing what he so called stands against.

This is typical and happening all over the state where these mayors are acting like arses.

That mayor should lose his job.

Thank you for writing this article and your support. 

-A Bogota Police Officer

Sounds like this mayor has been caught with his tail between his legs and has nowhere to go. It is a disgrace for him to make the comments he made and a detrement to the positions of the officers. How are they going to be looked upon by the public.

An absolute disgrace of NJ Politics

NJ politicians continue to show they have no backbone, no integrity, and no accountability for their own wrongdoings. 

Sounds like these Bogota Officers did the right thing and did their job.  This mayor needs to be ousted by the people of Bogota. 


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