After politician was falsely arrested for DUI, New Jersey mandates dash cam videos for police

This is a follow-up to a story I blogged about two years ago, about a New Jersey politician, Paul Moriarty who was arrested for DUI.  The officer’s dash cam video proved that the officer followed Moriarty and pulled him over for no reason, lied about his reason for the stop, then treated him with contempt as he barked out orders for field tests (which Moriarty passed).  Moriarty later went to a hospital for a blood test which showed that he had no alcohol in his system.  You can read my original post here:  https://illinoisduilawyer.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/dash-cam-videos-raises-questions-about-nj-pols-dui-arrest/

Assemblyman Moriarty was vindicated by the video and he has helped to ensure that others will not be falsely accused, by sponsoring a bill which requires that all New Jersey municipal police cars be equipped with cameras.

From NJ.com:

A law requiring all new municipal police patrol vehicles be equipped with video cameras was signed into law on Wednesday, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4 of Washington Township) said.

Moriarty, who sponsored the bill after an in-car camera captured his 2012 DWI arrest and provided evidence that lead to a dismissal of all charges, said Governor Chris Christie signed the bill Wednesday evening.

The bill requires all municipal police departments to equip newly purchased or leased vehicles that are used primarily for traffic stops with an in-car camera, or equip patrol officers with body cameras as a more affordable option.

A $25 surcharge on DWI convictions was set aside by the legislation to provide funding for the new equipment.

The bill was initially approved by both the state Assembly and Senate during the last legislative session, but was pocket-vetoed by the governor when he declined to either veto or sign the bill…

The impetus for the bill came from Moriarty’s 2012 arrest on DWI charges in his hometown of Washington Township, where he previously served as mayor.

A recording of the arrest showed multiple discrepancies between arresting officer Joseph DiBuonaventura’s pursuit of Moriarty and what DiBuonaventura wrote about the incident in subsequent police reports.

Prosecutors cited the video as evidence Moriarty — who has vehemently denied drinking that day — was illegally stopped and targeted by DiBuonaventura, who is now facing 14 criminal charges including official misconduct, falsifying a police report and harassment.

Moriarty has said that the video of the incident was crucial to proving his innocence, and against the odds, since only nine out of the township’s 50 patrol cars were equipped with cameras.

“As recent controversies have shown, it helps to have video footage to back up claims of excessive force and abuse of authority against civilians. Conversely, there are many good officers who have been wrongly accused of impropriety and this measure is designed to ensure their protection as well,” said Moriarty, who also serves as Chairman of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

Thanks to Springfield, Illinois attorney Ted Harvatin for posting about this new development.

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