South Jersey Lawmaker Settles Wrongful Arrest Lawsuit Against Cop for $50,000
A state lawmaker whose run-in with police several years ago prompted a law mandating video cameras in police vehicles has settled his lawsuit against a South Jersey cop for $50,000.
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Camden, was pulled over and arrested in 2012 by a Washington Township cop on suspicion of drunk driving. The charges against him were eventually dropped after video footage from the cop's car did not corroborate the officer's account of what transpired.
Moriarty sued Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura in federal court over arrest. Both sides agreed to settle the lawsuit out of court in 2015 and the settlement agreement was reached in September 2016. DiBuonaventura's attorney at the time said the settlement would be paid by the township's insurance company.
The amount of the settlement was revealed Thursday by open-government activist John Paff, a Somerset County resident who often posts public records on his website.
DiBuonaventura was charged with official misconduct over the arrest, but a jury found him not guilty in 2015.
Despite the verdict, DiBuonaventura lost his job. Last January a judge upheld his termination, saying DiBuonaventura lied about the traffic stop. The former officer, meanwhile, is suing the township.
Moriarty had also sued the car dealership he had been at before the traffic stop in 2012, claiming their call to police prompted the incident.
Moriarty's arrest prompted a law mandating dashcam videos. The law, however, was overturned last year by the independent state council tasked with protecting local governments from unfunded mandates. The council agreed with critics that the law's $25 surcharge on people convicted of drunk driving was not enough to pay for cameras and installation. The state, however, has continued to collect the fine.
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