Bergen sheriff's racially offensive remarks caught on tape

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A recording surfaced Thursday of a New Jersey county sheriff making disparaging remarks about blacks and the state's first Sikh attorney general and now, Gov. Phil Murphy is calling on the official to resign.

WNYC radio obtained the tape from a person who was present during the meeting. It was recorded on the day of Murphy's inauguration in January.

On it, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino is heard saying Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was appointed because of "the turban." He also said Murphy's policies would allow blacks to "come in, do whatever the (expletive) they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that."

Saudino also questioned on the recording whether Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who is not married, is gay.

In a statement, Murphy called the comments "appalling" and said if the voice on the recording is Saudino's, then he should resign.

"Without question, the comments made on that recording are appalling, and anyone using racist, homophobic, and hateful language is unfit for public office," Murphy said.

A spokesman for Saudino didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

Grewal, who worked closely with Saudino when he served as Bergen County prosecutor before being appointed attorney general, echoed Murphy's call for Saudino to resign.

"I have thick skin and I've been called far worse," Grewal continued. "But the comments about the African-American community are wrong, racist and hurtful. New Jersey and Bergen County deserve better."

In July, the hosts of a popular New Jersey radio show were suspended without pay for 10 days for repeatedly referring to Grewal as "turban man" during a broadcast.