A New Jersey cop who pulled men over to show them his genitals before allowing them go without a citation pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor, meaning he will not have to register as a sex offender.
Instead, Jason Miller was convicted of tampering with evidence.
The misdemeanor plea deal, which would be inconceivable for a non-police officer to receive, calls for up to a 60-day county jail sentence as well as for Miller to be “barred from seeking employment in law enforcement in New Jersey,” meaning he is free to seek employment at any number of other police departments in neighboring states, including the New York City Police Department.
The tampering with evidence conviction stems from the occasions when he turned off his dash cam in order to not record himself exposing his genitals to motorists.
But there were times when he left the camera on, which was the evidence they used to prosecute him in the first place.
Miller, 37, a 14-year veteran of the police force, came under investigation in October when the department received two anonymous tips that he was pulling young men over, including some who had been drinking, only to walk up to their car, unzip his pants, give them a close-up of his genitals before allowing them to leave without further interaction.
The tips prompted investigators to review daschcam footage from his car, which led to him being arrested on two counts of official misconduct, one count of a pattern of official misconduct and one count of lewdness.
Seven videos from Miller’s cruiser dashcam were obtained by www.nj.com through a public records request, which apparently show the officer exposing his genitals while interacting with the motorists.
The sound of Miller apparently zipping up his trousers after returning to his car also appears to have been caught on the tape. Miller is also seen at least once covering his genital area with his hands while walking back to his cruiser.
The videos are apparently of low resolution and are in a proprietary format, making them difficult to post online, according to the website.However, the videos as well as testimony from the motorists forced to view his genitals were sufficient for Sussex County prosecutors to charge Miller. Read the affidavit of probable cause here.
This incident makes one more argument for requiring police officers to have working, high-quality body cameras on at all times when interacting with the general public, for the protection of all parties involved.
It also demonstrates the importance of having strong, well-written open records laws that prevent departments from hiding or covering up aberrant behavior from their employees.
Last year, another New Jersey cop, Camden County Police Lieutenant Benito Gonzalez was caught on surveillance video masturbating at a local Starbucks.
Benito Gonzalez, who pleaded guilty to lewdness this year, said he was driven to masturbate in public while drinking coffee because he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.