A local police officer says that he did not falsify records or engage in any official misconduct during a traffic stop involving a New Jersey assemblyman. The arrest occurred last summer when the local lawmaker allegedly cut off the police officer in traffic, prompting a traffic stop. Upon approaching the car, the police officer says, he smelled alcohol, which triggered his decision to investigate a possible DUI.
Video footage that was captured by the in-dash camera on the officer’s car suggests that something else may have been afoot. The video, which was later released to the public, shows the officer chasing the local politician. After reviewing this and other evidence, a grand jury indicted the officer and he was charged with falsifying records and other crimes.
This case has a few elements that are important for the average New Jersey resident. It shows that it is important to remember that police should be held accountable for their conduct on the job. This is why police actions are recorded and can be reviewed in relevant situations where misconduct may have occurred. Residents who believe that they were arrested in a manner that violated the law can use this and other evidence to help clear them of the allegations.
The officer in this case entered a not-guilty plea despite being offered a plea bargain that would exchange a guilty plea for a sentence of only five years. If he is convicted by a jury he could face possible decades behind bars, depending on their findings.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Officer pleads not guilty in Moriarty traffic stop,” Darran Simon, June 18, 2013.