Wildwood Police Release Body Cam Footage of Violent Beach Arrest


Police have released body camera videos of a violent arrest at a beach in Wildwood, New Jersey over Memorial Day Weekend.

Emily Weinman, 20, of Philadelphia, was arrested Saturday and charged with 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.

A video of the arrest posted on social media Saturday shows three officers holding Weinman down on the sand. One officer punches her on the back of the head as they restrain her. A woman in the background repeatedly yells “stop resisting.”

Police identified the officers involved as Officer Thomas Cannon, Officer John Hillman and Officer Robert Jordan.

Wildwood Commissioner of Public Safety Tony Leonetti told NBC10 Weinman assaulted one of the officers first by kicking him in the groin and then running away, which the video does not show. Wildwood Police also say at one point Weinman spat at one of the officers.

On Wednesday, Wildwood police released three new body camera videos of the incident. In the first video, an officer confronts Weinman and a friend about underage drinking and makes them take a breathalyzer test.

The officer is heard saying he is going to have Weinman pour her alcohol out. The video then cuts off.

The second video begins with Weinman telling the officer she’s allowed to carry alcohol, just not to drink it. She also argues that the alcohol isn’t opened while an officer tells her the alcohol can be seen meaning it’s an “open display.”

The officer tells Weinman she’s not cooperating and causing a scene.

“I’ll give you one more chance to give me your last name,” the officer says.

Weinman doesn’t give them her last name however and tells them they’re wasting their time. 

“What’s your last name?” the officer asks again.

“You don’t need my last name,” Weinman says.

“Okay that’s it. I’m done with you,” the officer says.

The officer then asks his colleague if he has handcuffs.

“Get over here,” the officer says.

“Don’t f*****g cuff me,” she says.

“You’re about to get dropped,” the officer says.

The second video ends with the officer walking toward her.

During the third video, the officer grabs Weinman’s hair and forces her to the ground as she screams, struggles, curses and tells him repeatedly to get off of her. At one point a fist is seen hitting Weinman three times. 

“You’re not allowed to beat me like that,” she yells. “I’m a woman it doesn’t matter!”

The officers then begin to handcuff her.

“My daughter is right there seeing this,” Weinman yells. “I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Weinman then spits at one of the officers as they place her in handcuffs and take her into a police vehicle.

The video ends with one of the officers reporting what happened to another officer. The officer claims Weinman tried kicking another officer so he “slammed her on the ground.”

“She kicked him and I just hit her a couple times,” the officer said. “And I put her in cuffs and locked her up.”

In a Facebook post, which by Monday morning was apparently taken down, Weinman admitted to being in possession of alcohol while underage. She also claims she wasn’t drinking at the time of the arrest, that the alcohol was closed, and that the breathalyzer test came back negative.

After the test, Weinman says the officers still stayed with her and one officer followed her as she walked away to make a phone call.

“Therefore I asked them don’t they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach, saying to that there’s so much more serious stuff going on,” Weinman wrote. “The cop said, ‘I was gonna let you go but now I’ll write you up’ and he asked my name.”

Weinman said she didn’t give the officer her name because she “didn’t do anything wrong.” Weinman claims the officer then announced he was going to arrest her and walked toward her to place her in handcuffs.

“I tripped and fell and the cop tackled me to the ground and smashed my head into the sand,” Weinman wrote. “At that point I blacked out and fought any way possible trying to get up and push him off me.”

Weinman wrote that she was “partly wrong in a way” for not giving the officer her name but that she didn’t want to do it because she was scared.

“Like I said I didn’t do anything wrong and anything could’ve been written on that paper, the whole situation was iffy and I didn’t trust it,” she wrote. “Especially being aware of the fact of how grimy law enforcement can be now a days.”

Weinman has faced charges prior to Saturday’s incident, including simple assault and criminal mischief, according to court records.

She is on probation for the previous simple assault in Philadelphia, according to her attorney Stephen Dicht. Dicht also says that after seeing the new body camera footage, his view hasn’t changed.

“My perception is the same,” Dicht said. “My reaction is the same. It’s an overreaction to the situation and an excessive use of force.”

The initial video sparked debate on social media, with some supporting the officers’ actions, others insisting that people wait for the entire story to emerge before passing judgment and others condemning what they believe to be excessive force from the officers.

“If you refuse to give your name, than does that give them the right to pound you in the head?” Dicht asked.

Wildwood Police say an internal affairs investigation was immediately initiated on the incident and the three officers were reassigned to administrative duty pending the outcome.

“Chief Regalbuto stated that while he finds this video to be alarming, he does not want to rush to any judgment until having the final results of the investigation,” a Wildwood Police spokesman wrote.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office would not comment on the incident outside of saying it’s under review.

Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr. told NBC10 the incident was not a reflection of the Jersey Shore town.

“It’s really a shame that one minuscule incident happened that ruined it for the whole entire weekend which has been a great weekend,” he said.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident and has more video to contact Detective Lieutenant Kenneth Gallagher at 609-522-0222.

Source : Nbcnewyork