School official apologizes for calling police chief ‘skinhead’

Posted: Updated:

An Essex County school board member who was caught on camera cursing at a police officer and calling the chief a "skinhead cop" is apologizing for her behavior, saying it was an "irrational response."

South Orange-Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad can be heard using profanity when being issued tickets by the South Orange officer in dashcam video of the April 27 traffic stop. Although the driver identifies herself as Lawson-Muhammad, she cannot be seen.

MORE: South Orange BOE member calls police chief ‘skinhead’ during traffic stop

Lawson-Muhammad said in a statement that she “had an irrational response to being stopped for a traffic violation. I allowed my emotions to overwhelm me that morning, and I fell short of the standards to which I hold myself."

The statement continued, “Like many parents, I was trying to get my children to their schools on time.  When the police officer stopped me, I was upset, frustrated, and uncharacteristically out of sorts.  And to my benefit, the officer did not react to my behavior."

Lawson-Muhammad, who is black, can be heard telling the white police officer that she's "scared of cops because you guys hurt black people."

Local organization Black Parents Workshop has condemned Lawson-Muhammad’s behavior and has called for her resignation.

Lawson-Muhammad's term on the school board in South Orange Maplewood ends in 2019.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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