Washington Township, N.J. A t judge has determied former police officer Joseph DiBuonaventura,is not entitled to get his old job back, saying the cop’s behavior shows a “pervasive strain of lying.”
DiBuonaventura was fired from his position as a Washington Township police officer in 2016 after an internal affairs investigation concluded that he lied about his reasons for stopping state Assemblyman Paul Moriarity in 2012 and charging him with driving while intoxicated.
DiBuonaventura arrested Moriarty on charges of driving while intoxicated in July 2012. Moriarty denied he had been drinking, refused a breath test and said the incident was the result of an “abuse of power” by DiBuonaventura. The DWI charge was later dismissed after the county prosecutor’s office concluded that the officer lied about his reasons for stopping Moriarty.
Moriarty then filed 27 criminal complaints against DiBuonaventura, claiming the officer committed perjury, filed false reports and committed official misconduct, among other allegations. A judge charged DiBuonaventura with 13 of those 27 complaints and forwarded those charges to the prosecutor’s office. He was found not guilty following a 2015 trial.
The officer fabricated his reason for stopping Moriarty, omitted the real reason for pursuing him in his report and only came clean after realizing the entire matter was captured on his in-car camera, Morgan found in supporting the hearing officer’s original conclusion in the internal affairs probe. DiBuonaventura was also accused of purposefully writing phony warning notices to several drivers for violations that never occurred. That investigation and his firing followed a criminal trial in which DiBuonaventura was found not guilty on charges related to the Moriarty arrest.
After he was fired, DiBuonaventura appealed the hearing officer’s decision on the disciplinary action, leading to a decision this month by Judge David W. Morgan upholding the earlier decision. “The case reveals an officer with demonstrated animosity and dislike for Moriarty effectively targeting him …” Morgan writes. “The warnings case demonstrates that plaintiff’s potential for fabrication was more pervasive and longer-lived.”
The warnings case involved claims that DiBuonaventura filled out motor vehicle warnings for seven drivers, but did not serve those motorists with the warnings as part of an effort to artificially inflate his productivity.