Wildwood Police bodycam footage will vindicate beach cops caught on viral video as they pounded the sand out of a young mother during a crackdown on underage drinking, the mayor of the Jersey Shore town said Monday.
A Twitter post of the ugly incident shows one of the resort city’s summer cops slugging Emily Weinman, 20, of Philadelphia, in the head at least twice as he and another officer try to put her in handcuffs.
Beachgoers witnessing the scuffle on Saturday urged her to “stop resisting.”
The video spread across the internet, with some viewers characterizing it as another case of police brutality, while others blamed the young woman.
Weinman, who had her 18-month-old daughter with her, said she had beer on her, but it wasn’t open when she was approached by the part-time officers. After she passed a Breathalyzer test, she scolded the cops for bothering her.
“She escalated the situation, saying something like, ‘Don’t you have something better to do?'” Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said Monday.
He also said the town’s officers were following their training.
“That’s all part of the technique,” he said. “We are taking an aggressive stance on underage drinking on the beach.”
He said the Class II officers, who are hired and trained to patrol the sand in the summertime, look for hooch, hand out citations and make arrests if necessary.
The mayor said the town gets inundated by teenage partiers.
“They’re blatantly out there drinking on the beach,” Troiano said. “And then they leave it looking like Skid Row.”
Weinman’s sass prompted the officer to ask for her ID, which she refused to hand over. She also wouldn’t give the officers her name and claimed in a since-deleted Facebook post that they tackled her as she was backing away from them.
The mayor said Weinman was charged after spitting at the officer, kicking him in the groin and resisting arrest.
The officers have been reassigned to desk duty while an investigation proceeds.
Troiano said the bodycam recording of the incident will show Weinman kicked the officer and resisted arrest.
“I think you are going to see that the officers acted in a professional manner,” he said. “These (officers) are versed in all the rules and regulations. That’s all part of the professional technique.”
Officials have not made the bodycam recording public. Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said he will release the footage in the coming days, Philadelphia TV station WPVI reported.
Hercules Pappas, a Philadelphia lawyer who represented Weinman in a 2016 simple assault and trespassing case, spoke with her Monday about representing her in this case.
Pappas said he did not recall the details of the earlier case other than to confirm she was still on probation under a plea deal. “Whatever happened in the first case seems to be an anomaly in her personality,” he said.
Troiano, who was aware of Weinman’s prior legal run-in, said the incident Saturday seems to be part of a pattern.