NJ Turnpike settles lawsuit over trooper copying intimate videos during traffic stops
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority agreed Tuesday to award a New Orleans woman $250,000 to settle a lawsuit she filed after a State Police trooper accessed a sexually explicit video on her cellphone and downloaded it to his own during a traffic stop.
The case was one of two brought against Marquice Prather, 39, of Linden, for incidents in 2016, with another victim's complaint still being heard in Middlesex County, according to NJ.com.
In summarizing its Law Department's endorsement of the settlement amount, the Turnpike Authority said on July 24, 2016, Prather pulled over a car driven by the woman on the Garden State Parkway, which the Authority manages. The NJ.com report identified the location as near Exit 100 in Neptune.
According to the Turnpike Authority, the woman was not in possession of her vehicle insurance card at the time of the stop and asked to provide her phone to Prather to display her insurance information via her carrier's mobile app.
The woman's lawsuit, which originally sought $750,000 in damages, claimed that Prather kept her phone in his patrol car for "an inordinate amount of time." She was informed by State Police investigators a year later that the trooper copied videos, pictures, and phone numbers she had stored.
In one instance, Prather copied a "sexually explicit private video" from the woman's phone to his, the Turnpike Authority said.
The woman, who New Jersey 101.5 is not identifying because she is a victim of a crime, was not given a ticket in the encounter.
The Turnpike Authority Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the settlement, according to NJ.com.
New Jersey 101.5 previously reported that Prather was fired from the State Police force in 2018 and sentenced to three years' probation.
The case against Prather that remains pending stems from a stop on the New Jersey Turnpike in January 2016, in which he was alleged to have copied nude images from another woman's phone and later shared them.
The state tried to squash that lawsuit by saying that the woman, Marielle Kuczinski, waited too long to file a notice of tort claim.
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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