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Dashcam video has been released showing a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioner using profane language and demanding to be called “commissioner” as she intervenes during a traffic stop involving her daughter. It was the afternoon of Saturday, March 31 when Tenafly, N.J. police officer Matthew Savitsky pulled over a car driving down Route 9W with tinted front windows and an “unclear” rear license plate, according to a police report and police video. Among the car’s four passengers, he would soon learn, was the daughter of Caren Turner, a New Jersey commissioner on the powerful board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the region’s cross-Hudson river bridges and tunnels, as well as its major airports and the World Trade Center site. Turner resigned her position on April 20 after the Port Authority learned of the incident. She was “encouraged” to resign by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office according to a person in the governor’s office who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. Until her resignation, Turner had chaired the board’s ethics committee. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appointed her to the role last year. A public relations professional, her appointment was championed by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat.
When police pulled over the Toyota Corolla with Nevada plates that Saturday afternoon, they discovered the car’s registration was out of date and the driver didn’t have a current insurance card. The car would have to be impounded, Savitsky informed the driver, who handled the news calmly. Then Turner arrived. “She immediately walked up to PO Casper and I and began attempting to hand me a business card identifying herself as ‘the commissioner of the Port Authority,’” wrote Savitsky, referring to his fellow officer. “She 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.” In the video, she can be heard identifying herself as “the commissioner of the Port Authority.” She said that meant that she was “heading up over 4,000 police officers” apparently referring to the Port Authority Police Department. According to the Port Authority, the agency employs about 1,600 police officers. She demanded that the police explain to her the reason for the police stop and took affront when the police told her they were under no obligation to, since the four people in the car were adults.
Then one of the officers addressed her as “Miss.” “No, don’t call me miss, I’m ‘Commissioner,’ thank you” Turner said. She repeatedly swore at the officers. “During the tirade she states, ‘you may shut the f— up,’” according to the video. She also accused an officer of being “an ass” and of having a “smug ass look” on his face. “This is on me and I take full responsibility for it,” Turner said via text. “It’s a bit more involved than what meets the eye ” An attorney for Turner didn’t immediately provide additional comment. “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.”
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