Woman Sues for Arrest for Staying Silent at Traffic Stop

TRENTON (AP) -

A Philadelphia woman who was arrested after she refused to answer questions during a traffic stop in New Jersey has sued state police, claiming troopers violated basic rules by arresting her for remaining silent.

Rebecca Musarra, an attorney, filed the federal civil rights lawsuit after the Oct. 16 stop on Route 519. At least three troopers insisted after she was pulled over that refusing to answer questions was a criminal act, according to the lawsuit.

Lawyers for the state have sought in court filings to have the case dismissed, claiming that the troopers “acted in good faith and without fraud or malice.”

A trooper pulled Musarra over for suspected speeding, requested her license, registration and insurance, and asked if she knew why she was being pulled over, according to dashcam footage. Musarra said she provided the documents but didn’t respond to the troopers.

“You’re going to be placed under arrest if you don’t answer my questions,” one of the troopers told her before she was handcuffed and taken to a police station. Musarra asked the troopers if she was being detained, and one of the troopers said, “Yeah, obstruction.”

Musarra said a supervisor at the station watched the footage and let her go without charges.