A state assemblyman, facing charges of drunk driving and failure to submit to a Breathalyzer after being stopped by Washington Township Police Tuesday afternoon, may take action against the Gloucester County police force.
Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester) was stopped around 4 p.m., Tuesday while traveling on Highway 42, township police reported. He was driving alone, according to the report.
Moriarty, 55, a former mayor of Washington Township, Gloucester County, vehemently denies the charges that he had been drinking and was drunk when pulled over by township police, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"This afternoon, after spending over an hour at my local car dealership and heading to grab lunch, I was pulled over by a Washington Township police officer who claimed I had cut him off at an intersection," Moriarty said in a statement released Tuesday.
He claims the officer ordered him out of his car after he disagreed with the officer about cutting him off at the intersection. The officer, according to Moriarty’s statement, conducted a field sobriety test and issued a driving under the influence ticket. "Let me be clear: I had consumed no alcoholic beverages, and this entire episode was an abuse of power.”
Police Capt. Richard Leonard, spokesman for the department, refused to provide the full police report, according to the Star Ledger of Newark.
“If you want the police report, file a request and we’ll review it and determine whether it’s a public record,” Leonard said.
The arresting officer was once fired from the police department after he allegedly lied during an internal investigation. A court order reinstated him, said Moriarty, who served as mayor from 2004 to 2008.
Washington Township police declined to address media inquirers regarding those comments made by Moriarty, a former CB3 reporter.
“Chief Rafael Muniz is aware of the media reports of statements made by Paul D. Moriarty alleging officer misconduct. All complaints made will be fully investigated as required by the New Jersey Attorney General Guidelines,” a police statement, obtained by the Star Ledger of Newark, stated.
While no complaint had been filed as of Wednesday night, Daniel Rybeck, an attorney representing Moriarty, said, “It’s something we are considering.”
His client is expected in court Aug. 8 on charges of DUI, refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer and failure to maintain a lane. At that time, the judge will resolve whether the arresting officer had probable cause when the assemblyman refused to take a breath test. Under the law, Moriarty could lose his driving privileges for seven months, if he’s found guilty.