WARNING: The graphic video shows a NJ cop punching a woman in the head in front of her daughter. Police and the woman weighed in.
WILDWOOD, NJ — A video showing a police officer punching a woman in the head this weekend on a New Jersey beach has gone viral, getting thousands of shares on social media. The woman says she was punched in front of her young daughter, and did little to compel officers to take aggressive action against her.
(See video below – WARNING: graphic material; viewer discretion advised).
The video of the Wildwood incident was posted this weekend on Facebook by Emily Weinman of Philadelphia, who said she went to the beach with her daughter, her father and a friend this Memorial Day weekend when the incident occurred.
Weinman, 20, of Philadelphia was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
Wildwood police said it is investigating the matter and the two officers, who were not identified, have been reassigned to administrative duty pending the outcome of the probe.
In the statement, Chief Robert Regalbuto said that while he finds this video to be “alarming,” he does not want to rush to any judgement until having the final results of the investigation.
The incident happened when two officers approached the woman and asked her how old she is, Weinman said. A scuffle ultimately ensued, and in the video, somebody – a woman and possibly a police officer – can be heard saying “stop resisting.”
A young child can also be heard crying as people stood on the beach and watched two officers handcuff the woman.
Wildwood Commissioner of Public Safety Tony Leonetti told NBC10that Weinman assaulted one of the officers by kicking him in the groin and then running away, which was not shown in the video and possibly happened before she was punched. Wildwood Police also say Weinman spat at one of the officers.
Weinman, who acknowledged she is under 21 years old but said she didn’t do anything wrong, said she was sore and had a headache after the incident.
When the police officers initially approached, Weinman said, she agreed to take a Breathalyzer test and it came back negative.
“I told them I wasn’t drinking and the alcohol was clearly closed/sealed, which the cops seen,” she said. “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.”
Weinman said she asked the officers if they didn’t have something better to do “than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach, saying 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.”
The woman said she refused to give him her information because she was innocent. “I told him I have my 18-month-old daughter with me and there’s no need for all of it and that again,” she said. “I’m not gonna give him my information knowing I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Weinman said the officer said he was going to arrest her and started coming towards me to put handcuffs on me. I cautiously was backing up from him (facing him) and yelled for my daughter’s 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,” she said. “At that point, I blacked out and fought any way possible trying to get up and push him off me.
“That’s when he head locked 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 air.”
“Yes, I know I should’ve gave him my name. I was partly wrong in a way but I was scared.”
Wildwood police have asked anyone who was at the scene of the arrest, particularly those who have supporting video that could assist in the probe, to contact Detective Lt. Kenneth Gallagher at 609-522-0222. The Cape May County Prosecutors Office, Professional Standards Unit will also be assisting in this investigation.
Here is the video:
I was sleeping on the beach and I woke up to this.. i can’t believe it.. pic.twitter.com/UJE5Sy7E4G
— Lexy (@HewittLexy) May 26, 2018