Panel: Official who called cop skinhead should be suspended

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SOUTH ORANGE -

A New Jersey education panel has recommended a six-month suspension for a school board member caught on camera cursing at a police officer and calling the chief a "skinhead cop."

The School Ethics Commission announced its decision Tuesday.

It found South Orange-Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad leveraged her position and tried to use her relationship with another top official to get out of a traffic ticket.

RELATED: School official apologizes for calling police chief ‘skinhead’ 
RELATED: 
South Orange BOE member calls police chief ‘skinhead’ during traffic stop 

Lawson-Muhammad was heard using profanity when being issued tickets by the South Orange officer in dashcam video of the April 27 traffic stop.

Lawson-Muhammad, who is black, was heard telling the white police officer that she's "scared of cops because you guys hurt black people." She issued a public apology a few weeks later, saying she allowed her emotions to overwhelm her as she was trying to get her kids to school.

Lawson-Muhammad issued a statement Wednesday following the panel's recommendation. She says in part, "We are deeply disappointed with the decision issued by the Ethics Commission. Their action delegitimizes, disregards and belittles the very real and justified fear, anxiety, disorientation and even trauma that is nearly always experienced during even a routine traffic stop, particularly if that motorist is African American.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.

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