TUCKERTON — A police officer has been acquitted of official misconduct charges after releasing his police dog on a stopped motorist.

A judge found the state had not proved that Tuckerton officer Justin Cherry had committed an unauthorized attack with intent to injure a woman.

Cherry released the dog on the 57-year-old Barnegat woman in 2014. Authorities have said she was resisting arrest after being stopped for driving without a license.

Prosecutors argued Cherry deployed the dog after the woman was in custody. But the defense disputed that she ever was in custody and claimed she wasn't bitten or scratched by the dog.

The woman testified that she was injured when officers pulled her from her car. She has a pending lawsuit against Barnegat and Tuckerton police, including Cherry.

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