Society

NJ Police Arrest Woman For Remaining Silent (Video)

| by Michael Allen
New Jersey State TroopersNew Jersey State Troopers

A police dashcam video (below) that surfaced on May 4 shows two New Jersey state troopers telling a woman on Oct. 16, 2015, that she is being arrested for remaining silent.

Rebecca Musarra, the woman in the video, is an attorney who has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state, notes NJ Advance Media.

The Philadelphia attorney was handcuffed on an obstruction charge because she stayed silent, which the troopers admit to on the video.

In the video, New Jersey state trooper Matthew Stazzone asks Musarra, "Do you know why you're being pulled over tonight?"

Musarra does not answer.

Stazzone asks her: "I'm going to ask you one more time. Do you know why you're being stopped tonight?"

Musarra still doesn't answer.

"You're going to be placed under arrest if you don't answer my questions," Stazzone says.

"Do you know why you're being stopped tonight?" Stazzone asks again.

Musarra informs Stazzone and trooper Demetric Gosa that she is a lawyer and does not have to answer questions.

Musarra is then pulled out of her car by Stazzone and Gosa.

Musarra asks the troopers, "Are you detaining me because I refused to speak?"

"Yeah," Stazzone admits on the dashcam video.

"Yeah, obstruction," Gosa states.

The troopers reportedly put Musarra in the back of their squad car and read her the Miranda rights, which include: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

The State Police refused a request from NJ Advance Media for video footage from inside the police station where Musarra was booked.

Musarra said in her lawsuit that police patted her down twice in the station, handcuffed her inside a jail cell and refused to allow her to call her parents.

Musarra told NJ Advance Media that a supervisor, trooper James Butler, came into her cell and asked what happened.

"I said, 'The trooper arrested me for not answering his questions,'" Musarra recalled. "And the supervisor indicated (to me) that was obstruction."

According to Musarra, Butler reviewed the dashcam video, returned to her jail cell about 30 minutes later and told Musarra that "a mistake was made, and to chalk it up to training, and that (Stazzone) was just a rookie."

Butler allegedly offered to get Musarra's car out of impoundment at no charge as "a favor" and apologized for what happened.

Despite being handcuffed, transported to jail and placed in a cell, Musarra was never charged with any crime, according to official records.

The State Police refused to comment on the incident, but its lawyers said in federal court papers that the troopers "acted in good faith and without fraud or malice." The lawyers didn't specifically address the actions of the troopers.

"Who knows what will happen to the next person who comes down the road who decides they have these constitutional rights they want to assert?" Musarra told the news site. "What happens to them when they don't have the sort of privileges I have?"

According to a 2005 ruling by a New Jersey court, the state law says:

Obstructing administration of law or other governmental function a. A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act.

Sources: NJ Advance Media, Find Law / Photo credit: NJ.com/YouTube

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