Videos Required In New Jersey on all New Police Patrol Vehicles
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
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.
Moriarity re-introduced the legislation this spring, and was approved by the Assembly in May and the Senate in June.
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.