Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden) released the following statement Wednesday on Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to pocket veto legislation (A-4193 from 2012-13 session) he sponsored to require all new municipal police vehicles be equipped with cameras.
The bill came after Moriarty’s own personal experience.
Moriarty was charged with drunken driving and other charges in July 2012 in Washington Township, but Moriarty told police he had nothing to drink that day. Dashboard camera video from the officer’s car showed Moriarty did not cut off the officer, as the officer claimed, and showed Moriarty passing sobriety tests without problem.
The charges against Moriarty were dismissed in May, and the officer who filed the allegations has now been indicted on 14 criminal counts accusing him of making a false arrest of Moriarty and lying to support his claims:
“I’m deeply disappointed that Gov. Christie failed to act on my bill to require municipal police vehicles be equipped with video recording systems.
“It’s even more upsetting that the governor chose not to explain his reasoning behind not signing this bill designed to protect New Jerseyans and police officers alike.
“This bill is not something I just dreamed up off the top of my head. This bill, as many know, was based on my real life experience of being falsely charged with drunken driving, a situation that could have ruined my professional and political career if not for the recording device that rightly showed I was innocent. That device protected me that day. It showed the truth, and led to charges being filed against the police officer. Cameras don’t lie.
“But I know I was fortunate to have that camera there, and that many innocent New Jerseyans – and I must emphasize police officers, too – have not had the luxury of a video recording to clear their name of false charges.
“This bill was designed to change that and ensure the truth wins out in all disputes.
“Gov. Christie’s inaction means New Jerseyans and police officers remain unnecessarily at risk of being falsely prosecuted. That’s just not acceptable in this day and age.
“The cameras also would have been paid for with fees assessed against drunken drivers, so the taxpayers were protected.
“Despite my shock at the governor’s refusal to act on this bipartisan bill, I will not give up. I plan to reintroduce this bill and continue working hard to make it become law.”