New Jersey state police arrested a woman for exercising her Constitutional right to remain silent.
Or as they called it; “obstruction.”
But they were sure to inform Rebecca Musarra that she had the right to remain silent – once she was handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car.
She was then transported to a local police department, but released two hours later with no charges against her after a supervisor reviewed the footage and chalked it up to a rookie mistake.
The two arresting officer, Matthew Stazzone and Demetric Gosa, were hired in 2014.
Now Musarra is suing.
The incident took place on October 16, but a dash cam video of the incident was just obtained by NJ Advance Media, which posted it today.
Musarra, an attorney from Philadalphia, was pulled over for speeding. He walked up to her car and asked for her drivers license, registration and proof of insurance.
“While you’re looking for that, do you know why you’re being pulled over tonight?” he asked.
She handed over her documents, but remained silent.
But Stazzone wanted her to answer the question, so he asked her again. And again. And again.
“Do you know why you’re being stopped tonight?”
When she continued to remain silent, he threatened to arrest her.
“You’re going to be placed under arrest if you don’t answer my questions,” he said.
She then told him she was an attorney, exercising her right to remain silent.
But that did not stop them from ordering her out of the car and handcuffing her.
“Are you detaining me because I refused to speak?” she asked as they walked her to the police car.
“Yeah,” Stazzone said.
“Yeah, obstruction,” Gosa added.
At the police station, she was patted down and handcuffed to a bench inside a cell, according to NJ.com.
Musarra’s father is a former prosecutor and her mother is a former probation officer, so she told the news site that she understands “cops have a difficult job to do,” she told NJ.com.
But she also said “there has to be some sort of accountability.”
“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 said.
“What happens to them when they don’t have the sort of privileges I have?”
What would have happened is that they would still be fighting the charges.
Read her lawsuit here.