No charges in case of ex-councilman v. white supremacist North Bergen judge rules Turner, Vazquez not guilty

A North Bergen municipal court judge dismissed charges and counter charges last week that were filed by a controversial talk show host and a former Jersey City councilman against each other.

North Bergen Municipal Court Judge Joseph “Jay” Romano said the information presented in court was not sufficient to make a ruling one way or the other.

He dismissed the assault charges filed by township resident and white supremacist radio host Hal Turner against former Jersey City councilman Jaime Vazquez, and also threw out the charges Vazquez made against Turner The two men had had a confrontation outside Turner’s Paterson Plank Road home last April after Vazquez protested Turner’s comments he had made in a local newspaper.

“Frankly, I find both witnesses to be credible,” Romano said in court. “I find both witnesses to be vehement in espousing their views and because their views diverge, there has to be some tension. Who pushed who is something this court cannot determine beyond a reasonable doubt.”

With that, Romano found both Turner and Vazquez not guilty of the charges and dismissed the case.

Just shoot me On April 12, Vazquez protested outside of Turner’s North Bergen residence, wearing his United States Marine uniform and carrying a sign that read: “Hal Turner, shoot me. Racists and bigots like you are cowards.”

Vazquez was protesting Turner’s comments about the immigration rights rally in Liberty State Park. Turner had been quoted as saying that “The illegal immigrants are breaking the law, and people like me should break the law as well by shooting them down.”

When Vazquez picketed in front of Turner’s home with the sign, Turner went outside to take a picture of Vazquez. A scuffle ensued and Vazquez fell to the ground, apparently breaking a wrist in the altercation.

In court, Turner said that Vazquez was the first to shove Turner, so he just retaliated by pushing Vazquez back. “If I wanted to hurt him, he would have been hurt,” Turner told Romano. “I didn’t push him hard enough to fall. I felt threatened by him.”

Vazquez testified that it was Turner who initiated the contact, after Turner told Vazquez to “get off my sidewalk.”

“He then stepped on my foot and caused me to lose my balance,” Vazquez said. “I fell and hurt my wrist and back.”

Turner and his wife, Phyllis, testified in front of Romano that Vazquez used foul and threatening language. Vazquez denied that claim.

Vazquez disappointed Vazquez said that he was disappointed with the judge’s decision.

“He said that neither one of us was guilty and that we were both credible witnesses,” Vazquez said. “I felt disappointed because of the threats that Mr. Turner made on my life, and he’s basically a racist. We have to be able to stand up to racism, and this was blatant racism. We don’t need to go to North Carolina or Alabama to find a racist. We have them all around us, right here in our backyard.”

Vazquez, who currently serves as the director for the Jersey City Office of Veterans Affairs, vowed that it was not a dead issue.

“I’ve spoken with a few lawyers, and we’re looking into seeing what kind of alternatives we have,” Vazquez said. “We’re thinking of what we can pursue legally. I’ve been approached by people in the street, telling me to hang in there and don’t let him get away with it.”

Added Vazquez, “When I went there that day, I didn’t expect it to become physical. I don’t need that in my life at my age. But I’m also not backing down from the issues.”

Turner did not return repeated phone calls in time for this report.

He was reported as telling a local daily newspaper, “I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Thanks KKK for support On his website that is laced with racial epithets and slurs, Turner said that he appreciated the support he received from Gordon Young, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and Tripp Hendersen, a member of the National Vanguard, a white separatist organization.

Apparently, according to Turner’s website, both Young and Hendersen were in the courtroom for the trial. “I am grateful that they stood with me and showed their support,” Turner wrote.

Turner also said that he had made contingency plans to have the KKK, National Vanguard, Aryan Nations and the National Socialist Nazi Movement called into action, but those plans were scrapped because of Romano’s decision.

“The contingency plans I made privately will not be needed,” Turner wrote on his website. “I thank those folks for being willing to step up in service to our race and in defense of me.”

It was not clear what those “contingency plans” were.

Turner also wrote that he was grateful to “my skin head” lawyer.

Coincidentally, Turner’s internet and shortwave radio show was temporarily knocked off the air Wednesday night by the torrential rains and tornado watches that hit the area.


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group