A grand jury has indicted a Washington Township police officer on charges of tampering with records, falsifying records, and official misconduct, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday, stemming from the officer's arrest of Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D., Gloucester) in a July traffic stop.
Joseph DiBuonaventura, 42, arrested Moriarty on July 31 on drunken-driving and other charges. If convicted of all charges, DiBuonaventura could face decades in prison.
Moriarty said in an interview he felt vindicated by the indictment of the officer.
In October, Moriarty filed a criminal complaint against the officer, accusing him of official misconduct, perjury, filing false reports, and other things.
Days later, Moriarty, a former Washington Township mayor, held a news conference during which his lawyer showed footage taken the day of the incident from the DiBuonaventura's patrol car.
In the video, Moriarty appears to pass field sobriety tests. He declined to submit to a breath test, later saying he didn't think he could trust the process.
In the police report, DiBuonaventura wrote that Moriarty cut him off while changing lanes on the Black Horse Pike in Turnersville. But the video shows the officer's car parked on the median and then chasing Moriarty, who had been driving in the other direction.
"I feel that what the grand jury has said today validates what I've been saying all along: that I was hunted down, targeted, denied my civil rights, falsely accused, and falsely arrested," Moriarty said Thursday when the indictment was announced. "And I did nothing wrong. I feel vindicated by these indictments."
It is unclear what impact the indictment, which was returned Wednesday, will have on the charges against Moriarty, said Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office.
In 2009, after Moriarty left the mayor's office, DiBuonaventura was fired on charges of lying during an investigation into whether he made racially charged remarks during a police briefing. He appealed in Superior Court and was reinstated in 2011.
After the most recent incident, DiBuonaventura was suspended without pay Nov. 26 following a disciplinary hearing.
Washington Township Police Capt. Richard Leonard said Thursday that DiBuonaventura's status with the department would not change until the case concluded.
A spokeswoman for Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, the Haddon Heights law firm that is representing the officer, declined to comment.