Wildwood beach arrest video: Woman hits cop first
WARNING: The video above contains obscene language.
WILDWOOD — Police on Wednesday released bodycam video of a wild Memorial Day weekend arrest of a woman on a beach.
The police video comes days after a smartphone recording of the Saturday arrest showed an officer punching a woman in the face after officers discovered she had alcohol containers on the beach.
The video shows Emily Weinman, 20, of Philadelphia, arguing with the officers about the alcohol containers and then walking away from them after refusing to provide her last name.
One of the officers tells her: "You're about to get dropped."
As Weinman shouts for her boyfriend, she turns around and slams an officer in the chest, which police say caused his camera to turn off.
After the camera is turned back on, Weinman is heard screaming as officers try to handcuff her.
The video shows the officer's fist swing up and down several times. A bystander's video shows the officer punch Weinman at least twice.
In the police video, Weinman shouts that she is being choked. After she's been handcuffed, she turns around while she's still on the ground and spits toward the officers.
Weinman also shouts obscenities at the officers the entire time while also being concerned about her daughter.
In the video, the officer tells a superior that he hit Weinman after she had kicked him, although it's hard to see Weinman's legs in the video.
She was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at/on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol.
Police on Wednesday said the incident could have gone another direction. In fact, Weinman, who told officers that she had not been drinking, appears to pass a breathalyzer test.
"During the initial encounter, the officer can be heard stating that he was just going to have Ms. Weinman pour the alcohol out, without issuing any violations and then he terminates the recording," police in a written statement Wednesday.
"This matter is still under investigation, however, in an effort to insure transparency with the public we serve, it was imperative that this video be released as soon as feasibly possible," the statement said. "Upon the conclusion of the investigation in the coming days, and only after the final review by the Cape May County Prosecutors Office, the Wildwood Police Department will release the findings and outcome of the investigation."
New Jersey 101.5 requested copies of the video under the state's Open Public Records Act.
Police edited the video to blur out faces of underage beachgoers and others who were not involved. Police said they also muted the sound when other people provided officers with personal identifying information.
Weinman's attorney, Stephen Dicht, said Tuesday that there was no reason why police should have punched Weinman.
"I think it was outrageous. I think most reasonably thinking people would agree," he said. "There's an element out there that just wants to go along with the police no matter what they do."
Weinman defended her actions in a Facebook post that has since disappeared from public view.
"I did not do anything wrong and anything could've been written down on that paper so I wouldn't give it to him," she wrote, explaining why she refused to provide her name.
"I tripped and fell and the cop tackled me to the ground and smashed my head into the sand," she said. "At that point I blacked out and fought any way possible trying to get up and push him off me," her post said.
"This whole situation was handled wrongly and blew out of proportion because these pigs didn't do their jobs the way they were TRAINED to do so."
Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. already has come out in support of the officers.
Troiano told NJ.com that Weinman "refused to comply" and police were doing their job. He said the city is taking an "aggressive stance" against underage drinking on the beach. He said police wrote hundreds of tickets over the weekend.
Regalbuto said the two officers were placed on administrative duty pending an investigation.
Police on Wednesday identified three officers involved in the incident as Class II special law enforcement patrolmen Thomas Cannon, John Hillman and Robert Jordan.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.