CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey lawmaker took the unusual step Friday of showing a police dashboard camera video of a motor vehicle stop that led to his drunken driving arrest.
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty said the patrol car video proves he's innocent of the charges, including driving while intoxicated.
Moriarty, 56, was pulled over by a Washington Township patrolman on a Tuesday afternoon in late July and charged with failing to maintain a lane, DWI and refusing to take the Breathalyzer.
The officer in his police report says he stopped Moriarty after the legislator cut him off. He claimed to smell alcohol on Moriarty's breath and ordered the lawmaker out of the car. Moriarty contends he was driving lawfully in the right lane and didn't change lanes without signaling. He said he'd consumed no alcohol before the stop.
The video shown to reporters in Moriarty's lawyer's office Friday — but not released — appears to support the legislator's version of events.
"Based on my training and experience, it's clearly a false police report," said Frank Rodgers, a retired New Jersey State Police lieutenant colonel who was asked by Moriarty's lawyers to comment on the tape.
The video begins when patrolman Joe DiBuonaventura pulls off a median after Moriarty drives by, and ends when the lawmaker is handcuffed and placed in a patrol car. In between, Moriarty completes three field sobriety tests — he's asked to follow the officer's pen with his eyes, stand on one leg while counting to 30 and walk toe-to-toe. He appears to perform the tests. He asks several times why he's been stopped, asserts that he did nothing wrong, and tells the officer at one point, "I feel you're out to get me or something."
The Democrat, who represents towns in South Jersey's Camden and Gloucester counties, left the room while the tape was played, saying, "I can't watch this again."
"This has been humiliating, it's been embarrassing and it should happen to no one," he said. "There's a lot of great cops out there, and they put their lives on the line every day. But on this day, this police officer ... this is a shameful act."
Moriarty has filed a 27-count criminal complaint accusing the officer of lying and filing a false police report. It's now up to a municipal judge to decide whether to issue charges.
Moriarty says the officer "targeted" him. Asked why, he said it's not up the victim to ascribe a motive.
The case has been moved out of county to Bridgeton and is scheduled for Nov. 8. The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office also has been asked to investigate.
The head of the local police officers' union couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Lawyer John Eastlack Jr. said Moriarty refused the Breathalyzer because he was already deeply distrustful of the motive for the stop. Eastlack said Moriarty went to a local hospital to have blood drawn, as people who refuse a breath test are instructed to do, but "many hours" passed before a blood sample was taken.
Eastlack said the results show no alcohol in Moriarty's blood. They did not supply documents to support that claim.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.