A New Jersey police officer is under internal investigation after a man filmed him making controversial comments on Monday.
The officer, Richard Recine of the Helmetta Police Department, was called to the borough municipal building after receiving reports that a man was taking pictures inside the building.
The man, Steve Wronko, was at the building to film alleged mistreatment and neglect of animals at the municipal animal shelter, according to USA Today.
In video posted to YouTube, Wronko insists that he has a constitutional right to film inside a public building, but it’s very clear that police want him to leave.
During an exchange that culminated with Wronko’s being escorted from the building, Recine becomes agitated.
“Obama has decimated the friggin’ constitution, so I don’t give a damn,” Recine said on camera. “Because if he doesn’t follow the Constitution we don’t have to.”
Police Director Robert Manney, who also appears in the video, called Recine’s comments an “embarrassment… uncalled for and unprofessional,” in an interview with.
Wronko is a member of a closed Facebook group that purports to share stories and images of animal neglect at the Helmetta Animal Shelter. His wife toldthat he’s been kicked out of the building twice before after taking images at the shelter.
In a phone interview with The Huffington Post on Thursday, Wonko said that he began visiting the shelter with his camera after he and some of his friends and relatives adopted animals from the shelter and found that they were in poor health.
“It’s not just dogs.” Wonko told HuffPost. “They’ve got an African gray parrot in there that’s in the same room with chemicals… Bleach and cleaning chemicals. Those kinds of birds aren’t supposed to be breathing in those kinds of chemicals.”
At least one memeber of Wonko’s Facebook group accuses staff at the municipal shelter of “refusing to give the animals water, blankets, towels, and litter boxes.”
Wonko alleges that the shelter has been putting up sick animals for adoption since at least 2011. He wants something done, but said that so far borough officials haven’t taken action.