An incident at a local bar triggered by “Donald Trump bullshit” led to a police investigation into disorderly conduct involving Voorhees Deputy Mayor Jason Ravitz.
Ravitz was not charged after a shoving match between the Camden County Democrat, who is up for re-election this year, and two employees of Ott’s Tavern in August 2017.
“He’s just freaking the fuck out,” the tavern manager told police officers.
Surveillance video of the bar obtained by the New Jersey Globe shows Ravitz having a verbal exchange with two other patrons, although there is no audio recording of what was said inside the bar.
Three cameras show Ravitz repeatedly brawling with the bar manager and the bouncer.
There are extensive recordings of Ravitz during the police investigation, which was captured on body cameras worn by the local police officers.
At one point, Ravitz asked a police officer to turn off his camera. That request was denied.
In New Jersey, asking that a body camera be disabled could be viewed as obstructing a law enforcement official, experts say.
Ravitz told the New Jersey Globe that anti-Semitic and anti-Black “insults were hurled” at him and two of his friends, both of whom were Black.
“I was defending my religion and defending my friends,” Ravitz said. “Nobody inside the establishment took care of it.”
Those accusations were denied by the two men Ravitz said insulted him.
“I was just sitting here trying to drink a beer,” one said.
A manager and bouncer at Ott’s got involved in a physical altercation, which included the deputy mayor being physically removed from the bar and tossed onto the street.
Ravitz was described as a regular at the bar and was clearly known to the police officers who responded.
Police officers repeatedly told Ravitz to have a seat, something he did only reluctantly.
“This is essentially a hate crime,” he told the officers. “Why am I the criminal? These guys were talking shit about black people. They were talking shit about Jews.”
One police officer told Ravitz that the questioning was “standard procedure.”
“We don’t want somebody in the future saying ‘hey look, do you do this to everybody’ and we don’t want to have to lie to them and say that we don’t,” the officer said.
Ravitz challenged the police to charge him with a crime.
“Charge me. Charge me. Charge me,” Ravitz told the officers. “It’ll be interesting, the guy who promoted you is fucking, you’re gonna charge him.”
“I’m not going down that road with you,” an officer said.
“Come on. Do it,” said Ravitz. “What about your fucking raise?
“I can’t me concerned about my raise right now,” the officer responded.
Ravitz objected to his “rights being fucking violated.”
He was told that he was being told to have a seat was because he was being disorderly and violent.
“Nothing’s gonna fucking happen, because I know the rules,” Ravitz said. “And you know I know the rules.”
“I’ll deal with whatever is going to come my way.”
Ravitz warned police officers that he had not preclude the possibility that he would attack one of the offenders.
“That fucking guy right there,” he said, pointing to one of the people who allegedly insulted him. “If he walks up there, you guys should probably hold me back.
Ravitz declined to file any charges against the two men he accused of hate crimes.
“I don’t want to start an ethnic and race war in my town,” Ravitz told the Globe.
He said that the emergence of the videos in September was designed by his opponents. Democrats have a 4-1 majority on the Township Committee, with two Democratic seats up this year.
“This is a perfectly timed political hit job to affect my campaign,” Ravitz said.
He said he would no longer patronize the bar because they “didn’t take care of the situation.”
One of the owners of Ott’s, Craig Bigley, declined to discuss the incident and refused to say whether Ravitz was banned from the bar.
“What happens at Ott’s stays at Ott’s,” Bigley said.