A Port Authority ethics chairwoman and a former financial adviser to Hillary Clinton was forced to resign after a profanity-filled confrontation with police at a traffic stop.
Police released video Tuesday showing Caren Turner, a commissioner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and chairwoman of its ethics committee, berating officers and attempting to use her position to intimidate them, Politico reported.
A spokesman for the Port Authority called Turner’s behavior “indefensible,” as the video showed her at one point telling an officer, “You may shut the f— up!”
Turner once served on finance committees for Hillary Clinton, New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. She was appointed by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the Port Authority, which controls the area’s crossover bridges and tunnels, major airports and the World Trade Center site.
New Jersey police had pulled over a vehicle with tinted front windows and an “unclear” rear license plate on March 31, according to a police report, Politico reported. Turner’s daughter was one of the passengers and called her mother when N.J. police officer Matthew Savitsky informed the driver that the car would have to be impounded because he didn’t have a current insurance card and the car’s registration had expired.
Turner arrived and can be heard in the video introducing herself as “the commissioner of the Port Authority.”
“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,’” Savitsky wrote in the report. “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.”
“You’re just here as a ride, right?” the officer is heard in the video asking.
“No, I’m not. I’m here as a concerned citizen and friend of the mayor,” Turner replied, adding “trust me, I’m very involved.”
She became annoyed when she was informed that the officers were under no obligation to provide her with information since all of the passengers in the car were over 18 years old. The officer directed Turner “to speak with the driver of the vehicle for more information,” based on the way she was “attempting to misappropriately user her professional position to gain authority in this situation,” the report indicated.
She curtly corrected one officer who called her “Miss.”
“No, don’t call me miss, I’m ‘Commissioner,’ thank you” Turner said, repeatedly swearing and accusing an officer of being “an ass” and of having a “smug ass look” on his face.
She unloaded when the officer attempted to end the exchange.
“You may not tell me when to take my child. You may shut the f— up!” she told him.
Turner resigned after the Port Authority was alerted to the incident and the bistate agency’s inspector began to investigate
“The Port Authority has zero tolerance for ethics violations,” Port Authority spokesman Ben Branham said in a statement Monday.
“This is on me and I take full responsibility for it,” Turner, a public relations professional, said in a text message, Politico reported. “It’s a bit more involved than what meets the eye ”
“The video speaks for itself,” 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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