Bergen County sheriff submits resignation after racist remarks surface

Less than a day after releasing a statement saying he would remain in office, embattled Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino has submitted his resignation. Several undersheriffs in the department have submitted their resignations as well.

Calls for Saudino to step down piled up after he was heard on tape making racist remarks against African-Americans and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a Sikh.

The comments were recorded in January after Gov. Phil Murphy’s inauguration.

Public officials, including Murphy, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Bergen County Democratic Chair Lou Stellato and several state lawmakers on Thursday were among those calling for Saudino’s resignation.

Thursday evening, Saudino issued an apology “for the insensitive recorded remarks that were made public” but said he would not resign.

“These remarks are not representative of the person that I am and they are in no way consistent with the manner in which I have conducted my life personally and as a law enforcement professional with over 46 years of service to the residents of Bergen County,” the statement read in part.

Executive Undersheriff George Buono, Undersheriff Robert Colaneri, Undersheriff Brian Smith and Undersheriff Joseph Hornyak have also submitted their resignations effective immediately.

Pending the appointment of an interim sheriff by the governor, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office says Chief Kevin Pell will be the officer-in-charge of the Sheriff’s Department’s operations, and Bergen County Sheriff’s Office Warden Steve Ahrendt will be the officer-in-charge of the Bergen County jail’s operations.