Ruggiero: 'I Will Not Apologize' for Facebook Comment

by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to
Published October 21
, 2010

—  An anonymous e-mail, accusing Jefferson County Sheriff candidate Charles F. “Chuck”  Ruggiero of posting a “racist” comment on the Facebook wall of a sheriff’s deputy, was sent Thursday morning to and newspaper reporter David C. Shampine.  

“This is nothing more than attempted smearing,” Ruggiero said. “If this is the best they can do, they’d better go back and reload their gun because this failed.” 

The author, whose name is not shown in the address bar, copied and pasted a screen shot of Deputy Sheriff Shaun D. Cuddeback’s Facebook page entitled “Profile Pictures.” 

“This is a post about a photo of a current deputy holding a baby,” the author writes.  

Although the picture is not included in the e-mail, Cuddeback’s description of it reads, “Found a pic of me and my “little” girl, brought back some memories. (Go ahead, laugh at the beard and glasses, I know you want to.)’” 

“Chuck Ruggiero,” at 12:32 p.m., Jan. 21, responds, “Looks like the only things you’re missing are the backpack bomb and the towel on your head!” 

“Racist much???,” is written below the pasted screen shot by the author.  

When asked if the Facebook screen shot was fabricated or authentic, Ruggerio replied, “This comment that you see in this e-mail, I made.” 

The part-time Cape Vincent police officer, who described himself as a trained counter-terrorism instructor, said the Facebook comment was intended to be an “anti-terrorist”  remark- not “anti-Muslim” or “anti-Islamic” 

“In this photograph, which you don’t have here, it shows Deputy Cuddeback holding his youngest child and he has a full facial beard,” Ruggiero said. “The way that he’s dressed, he looks like a backpack bomber.” 

He continues, “Nowhere in here do you see any mention of any religion, or any race, or any national origin or country. This is not a racist remark. Do I oppose backpack terrorist bombers and the way they present themselves and the way they’re seen- you bet I do, it’s my job.” 

Although he gave no names, Ruggiero claims the author-or authors- is “someone who is related to a member of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department who is supporting Sheriff John P. Burns.” 

“If they want to attempt to paint me as a racist, good luck,” Ruggiero said.  

Ruggiero’s opponent, incumbent Sheriff John P. Burns, says he is also aware of the Facebook comment.  

“I heard about that quite some time ago,” Burns said. “I just let it go...he (Ruggiero) claims to have these high standards and integrity, well, it’s obvious he doesn’t.” 

During a fundraiser for Ruggiero Thursday night at the Fireside at Partridge Berry Inn, 26561 Route 3, the Republican candidate claimed Burns made a “racist” comment in a 2007 Watertown Daily Times article when the sheriff defended “a certain part” of Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer’s bill to allow illegal immigrants to obtain state drivers licenses. 

“For the sheriff to come out and say that the reason why all the illegal aliens in the state of New York need to have drivers licenses is because the poor family members of those hapless soldiers, who were taken in by those illegal alien wives, need to go to the store at night to buy milk for the kids,” Ruggiero said, “what a crock, what a crock-where does that come from?” 

Burns said Thursday night, “I really felt that a certain part of his driver's license bill was a good idea.” 

He further explained, “If they’re (soldiers) deployed and end up getting married, come back here and get redeployed, then their wife may be sitting here without the license and can’t go to get their needs.” 

The sheriff also accused his opponent of not running a “clean campaign.” 

“I knew about that Facebook comment and I didn’t do anything with it, I left it alone,” Burns said. “He’s obviously the one throwing mud. He’s the one, that several months ago, said he’s going to run a clean campaign and he has done nothing but that.” 

Ruggiero is adamant the e-mail’s author is the same person who passed around “propaganda” posters after a Jefferson Community College debate, criticizing him.   

“They’re outing a sheriff’s deputy and making him a part of this, so it will reflect on him as well,” Ruggiero said. “What’s to be said about their true motivation here-they just hate everybody.” 

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, and polls will be open 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Charles F. "Chuck" Ruggiero speaks to supporters Thursday evening at Fireside at the Patridge Berry Inn in the town of LeRay. 

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