Assemblyman’s Police Camera Bill Signed Into Law
A new law was signed Wednesday which requires all new municipal police patrol vehicles to be equipped with video cameras.
The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4 of Washington Township) whose DWI arrest was captured in an in-car camera. The video footage of the arrest was later used in the dismissal of all charges against Moriarty as it showed multiple discrepancies between arresting officer Joseph DiBuonaventura’s pursuit of Moriarty. DiBuonaventura’s police report was totally different from the actual facts and the video helped clear Moriarity’s name.
According to the prosecutors, Moriarty was illegally stopped that day and was targeted by the arresting officer, DiBuonaventura. Moriarty repeatedly told the officer that he did not have any drink that day, but the officer still charged him. After a trial, the officer is now facing 14 criminal charges including official misconduct, harassment and falsification of a police report. According to Moriarty, the video of the incident was crucial in proving his innocence.
Governor Chris Christie signed the bill Wednesday evening stating that the bill requires all municipal police departments to install in-car cameras in all patrol cars, whether newly purchased or leased. The bill was specifically focused towards the use of in-car cameras in vehicles that are used for traffic stops. In case in-car cameras are not available, patrol officers can be equipped with body cameras as a more affordable option. Currently, only nine out of the township’s 50 patrol cars are equipped with cameras.
To cover the funding cost for the new equipment, a $25 surcharge was set aside by the legislation on DWI convictions.
Moriarity was arrested in his Washington township hometown in 2012 on DWI charges. His arrest was the impetus for the bill. Although the bill was initially approved by both the state Assembly and Senate in the last legislative session, it was pocket-vetoed by the governor. The bill was later re-introduced by Moriarity and it got approval from both the Assembly and Senate after that.
Moriarty, who also serves as Chairman of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, said that having video footage is crucial to back up any claims of abuse or use of excessive force against civilians in court. Video footage not only helps protect civilians, but it will also ensure the protection of police officers who may be wrongly accused of impropriety.
News Source: www.NJ.com