A Philadelphia woman is facing a number of charges and police officers have been placed on desk duty following a violent arrest on a Wildwood, New Jersey beach Memorial Day Weekend.
The original video was captured by a beach-goer who said she “woke up” to witness what looks like a brawl or fisticuffs between Emily Weinman and police officers. Screams of “stop resisting” and “I didn’t do anything,” can be heard as police struggle with, then punch, the 20-year-old.
Now Wildwood Police have released three separate officer bodycam videos of the interaction between Weinman and three tourist season police patrolmen Thomas Cannon, John Hillman and Robert Jordan.
None of the three officers will face any charges, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said. “…the actions of the arresting officer(s) ” did not amount to excessive force and so “did not meet the evidentiary standards to warrant criminal charges,” a statement by county prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Witness Video Shows Weinman Kicking an Officer & Officers Then Punching Her Multiple Times as She Tries to Get Her Arms Free While Yelling She Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
Originally posted to Twitter by Alexis Hewitt, a beach-goer who said, “I was sleeping on the beach and I woke up to this.. i can’t believe it,” the video has been viewed on Twitter more than 2 million times and has been widely shared. Hewitt agreed the video could be shared and asked that it be credited.
In the 54-second video, people can be heard yelling for Weinman to “stop resisting” as she is punched repeatedly in and about the back of her head. A baby can be heard crying and several voices yelling at once.
On her Twitter, Hewitt said that the incident happened at 4:11 p.m. at the Wildwood beach. She said “Just putting it out there I’m only sharing what I saw happen directly in front of me. I am not anti-police I’m just sharing what I saw.”
When asked, Hewitt said she “spoke to the family after she was arrested. And they said that all that happened after she passed a breathalyzer test and she didn’t want to give her last name because they didn’t have a reason for it since she passed.”
Weinman can be heard saying “…“You’re not allowed to hit me like that …choke me like that …I didn’t do anything wrong.” …” as another woman’s voice can be heard pleading with her to “stop resisting.”
2. Wildwood Police Released BodyCam Videos, Launched an Internal Affairs Investigation & Reassigned the Officers to Administrative Duty
Wednesday evening, the Wildwood Police Department released three bodycam videos all censored and redacted. In the first of three videos, an officer (which one is not clear) does a Breathalyzer test on Weinman and it sounds like a he’s also performing the test on a person off screen. While waiting for her ‘aunt,’ who someone off camera says is in her 40s, the officer tells another officer to get Weinman, who’s walked away and is on the phone. He says says the alcohol will be poured out. The camera shuts off.
But the camera gets switched back on. Weinman and another female can be heard debating with the police about the fact that they were not drinking, and then the officer says they’re causing a scene and asks for Weinman’s name. She refuses saying she can’t be “locked up,” had not done anything wrong had not “disrespected” the officer adding, “You’re mad because you thought we were drinking.” He asks when her aunt will be there and then asks for Weinman’s last name sounding frustrated at this point. She says she doesn’t have to tell him her last name and has done nothing wrong.
“That’s it. I’m done with you. You have cuffs on you? You’re about to get dropped.”
In video three, the arrest is extremely violent. She screams hysterically, “Matt, Matt, they’re choking me.” There’s violent chaos with ear-piercing screams as it appears Weinman is face down in the sand. “You’re not allowed to hit me like that,” she shrieks. But at the same time, people can be heard telling her not to resist the police, but she’s screaming and cursing at the officers insisting “I did nothing wrong. My daughter is watching!”
An uncensored version of all three videos combined, with explicit language, from NJ.com, can be seen here:
Wildwood Chief of Police Robert N. Regalbuto told local media, “From what I see on the video and only on the video, from not even talking to the officers, I think they did a decent job.”
Cannon, Nillman and Jordan are seasonal cops. Earning just $10 an hour, NJ.com says, they’re called Class II officers who get the same training as police recruits. To qualify for the job they must be 18, have a high school diploma and pass a background check.
In its initial statement Sunday, the department said it has “received reports of a video on various social media sources, regarding an incident that occurred on the Wildwood beach yesterday afternoon with our officers.”
An “internal affairs investigation was immediately initiated into this matter and the involved officers have been reassigned to administrative duty pending the outcome of a full on thorough investigation,” it reads.
On Sunday Regalbuto said he “finds this video to be alarming, he does not want to rush to any judgment until having the final results of the investigation.”
An investigation was conducted and it was decided the officers had not used excessive force.
“The object of the preliminary investigation was to determine whether the actions of the arresting officer or officers potentially violated (New Jersey law) …the ‘Use of Justifiable Force’ to effect an arrest, or any other related criminal statutes. The purpose of the preliminary investigation was to determine whether the Professional Standards Unit (“PSU”) of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office conducts the Internal Affairs investigation based on possible criminal charges against the arresting officer(s), or the Wildwood Police Department conducts an Administrative Internal Affairs Investigation. And that investigation found the cops were doing their jobs as trained.
“I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions,” Sutherland said. “A decision such as this is not based on emotion; it is based upon applying the proper laws, policies and directives that govern law enforcement. Members of the public should understand that no matter what your opinion is regarding the subject event, it is not based on a full review of the evidence.”
3. Weinman Wrote a Facebook Post Telling Her Side of the Story
You can read Weinman’s full, now-deleted Facebook post below:
So, I decide to go on the beach with my daughter, her father and friend. I had alcohol, it’s Memorial Day weekend and 90 percent of people are underage drinking on the beach, without a doubt. Two cops approach me on a their four wheelers and ask me and my friend how old we are, we gave them our ages. Then, we got breathalized, and it came back negative. I told them I wasn’t drinking and the alcohol was clearly closed/sealed, which the cops seen. They still stayed, the one cop following me when I walked away to go make a phone call after they did what they had to do.. like okay, they did their job and I cooperated???♀️ 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… the cop said, “I was gonna let you go but now I’ll write you up” and he asked my name.
I did not do anything wrong and anything could’ve been written down on that paper so I wouldn’t give it to him. At that point I was told if I don’t give it to him he’s going to arrest me. I told him I have my 18 month old daughter with me and there’s no need for all of it and that again, I’m not gonna give him my information knowing I didn’t do anything wrong. He told me he’s arresting me and started coming towards me to put handcuffs on me. I cautiously was backing up from him (facing him) and yelled for my daughters father. (he was playing in the ocean with our daughter at the time).. I tripped and fell and the cop tackled me to the ground and smashed my head into the sand. At that point I blacked out and fought any way possible trying to get up and push him off me. Thats when he head locked me me by his arm around my neck, punched on me in my head and then he head locked me again but this time choking me, I was gasping for ear.
Yes, i know I should’ve gave him my name.. I was partly wrong in a way but I 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.. especially being aware of the fact of how grimy law enforcement can be now a days. & honestly, I can say if I took even a sip, then I would’ve gave them my information and called it a day; I’m underage, so I know better. But this whole situation was handled wrongly and blew out of proportion all because these pigs didn’t do their jobs the way they were TRAINED to do so. maybe that’s just how they train them nowadays, who knows with the world we live in today??♀️
Now, I’m over here with a sore body, banging headache and the thought of ever trusting a police officer again if anything were to happen in the future. That’s what we call them for right???♀️ We are supposed to feel safe and trust our police officers for anything. Oh, did I mention that they didn’t even take the beer (like they’re supposed to since we were underage) and finish getting my friends info?? They obviously were there to stir the pot. I know I’m not the first this happened too and definitely am sure that I will not be the last!!
But the prosecutor said after review of the bodycam “footage from the arresting officer, review of video taken by a private citizen of the later portion of the altercation, BWC footage of the officer transporting Ms. Weinman, police vehicle video, internal affairs interviews of several independent witnesses, and the written arrest reports and summons and complaints” it was concluded the officers used justifiable force.
4. Wildwood’s Mayor Suggested Weinman Provoked the Incident, Which He Called a ‘Shame,’ & He Said Body Camera Video Will Show Her Insulting & Spitting on the Officers
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. told Philly.com that police bodycam footage will show Weinman allegedly insulting and spitting on police. He said a Wildwood police officer didn’t decide “to beat her up.” But when asked about the possible use of excessive force, Troiano demurred and declined comment since he didn’t have all the facts. “We don’t like to see anyone get hit, period. But then again, when you have someone who’s aggressively attacking you or spitting at you … I wasn’t there. I don’t know,” he told Philly.com.
Troiano told local media underage drinking is a problem.
“I don’t understand why it seems to be that this is a God-given right that they can come here and drink underage,” he said.
Weinman was charged with minor possession of alcohol. She is 20 and the drinking age in New Jersey is 21 although in her Facebook post she denies being intoxicated and apparently took and passed a Breathalyzer according to her family.
5. Weinman, Currently on Probation In Pennsylvania, is Facing Felony Charges That Could Result in Several Years in Prison
Weinman, a Philadelphia native, whose Facebook page is filled with photos of her young daughter, is facing several felony charges that could result in several years in prison if found guilty.
Wildwood Police are referring Weinman to the Cape May prosecutor’s office on two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, and charges of aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at/on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
This is not Weinman’s first run in with the law and not the first time she’s been combative, according to court documents. In September of 2016, she was arrested and charged with burglary, simple assault, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and recklessly endangering another person. In November of 2017, Weinman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor simple assault and misdemeanor “recklessly endangering another person.” She was sentenced to serve four years of probation and pay just under $10,000 in court costs and restitution.
Meanwhile in New Jersey, Sutherland pointed out in his June 5 statement that as of that date, “Ms. Weinman and her attorney are entitled to due process and they have not yet received the information that they will be entitled to as part of the legal process.”