'I Will Not Apologize' for Facebook Comment
by Timothy W. Scee II
Published October 21, 2010
WATERTOWN, N.Y. — 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
Newzjunky.com 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
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
“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
“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
“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
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
“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
“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
“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
Charles F. "Chuck"
Ruggiero speaks to supporters Thursday evening at Fireside
at the Patridge Berry Inn in the town of LeRay.