A woman who was arrested on a New Jersey beach last Memorial Day and was captured in viral video has been indicted on several federal charges.
Emily Weinman, 20, has been indicted by a Cape May County grand jury on charges that include aggravated assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, throwing bodily fluids, and obstruction of justice.
The Philadelphia native was on a Wildwood NJ beach over last Memorial Day weekend with her boyfriend and 18-month old daughter when law enforcement confronted her on suspicion of drinking underage. What unfolded from that point was captured on a police body camera, as well as on the cell phone of another beachgoer.
Weinman did comply with a breathalyzer test. But the situation began to escalate when she would not give her name to the police officers. One officer is heard on the video saying that he was ‘done with her,’ and begins the process of arresting her. At that point, she tried to run away, shouted profanities and told law enforcement to not put her in handcuffs. One of the police officers told the young woman that ‘she was about to get dropped.’
The woman then resisted arrest, and as one of the officers approached her, she struck him in the chest, according to Police Chief Robert Regalbuto. That action allegedly shut off his body camera. It was reactivated as the two were struggling in the sand. The officer punched her twice, and voices could be heard in the background where the police yelled for her to stop resisting. Weinman then spits in the direction of one of the police.
Law enforcement that were involved in the arrest were later identified as Thomas Cannon, John Hillman, and Robert Jordan. All were cleared of any wrongdoing before the supervisors reviewed the videos. Advocates for Weinman claim that they should be facing charges, but they have been cleared of committing any federal or state crimes. All have returned to patrol duty.
Mayor Says Police Were Doing Their Job
While the viral video has brought accusations of police brutality, the mayor of Wildwood, Ernie Troiano, said soon after the Memorial Day incident that the police were doing what they are paid to do.
Troiano told the media that while he did not know the entire story of what caused the encounter, the woman refused to comply with officer instructions and were arrested.
The officers that were involved in the confrontation and scuffle with the woman were temporarily reassigned to administrative duties as the investigation into the incident was conducted.
Weinman Contradicts Officers’ Claims
Weinman has told the police and the media that she was not drinking alcohol on the beach that day. She also claimed the alcohol containers around her had not been opened. Both of the breathalyzers she took came back negative. She said she asked the officers if they didn’t have better things to do than to bother a person who hadn’t been drinking. Weinman also noted that one of the police officers said at that point that he was going to let her go, but that he was then going to write her up. Weinman admitted that she did have ‘a bit of an attitude’ during the arrest.
Her attorney, Stephen Dicht, told the media that he had not told her at that point that she had committed a crime. The police officer did not say that he was going to give her a summons. Dicht claimed that the officer just told her that he was going to drop her without telling her what she was being arrested for. Her attorney also stated that the police are the ones who should be facing criminal charges. He told the press that he is looking forward to the opportunity to vindicate the woman and show that the police are to blame for this situation and not his client.
According to the bodycam video, the officer was then on top of the woman and hit her several times. The officer later justified his use of force. He said that she tried to kick them, so the slammed her onto the sand. Weinman said that she spit at the officer, it was because she had sand in her mouth.
Weinman also claimed during the arrest that the alcohol belonged to her aunt. Weinman has now been charged with several crimes after she rejected a plea bargain in July. She apparently rejected the deal because she wanted to enter a pretrial program that could have led to the charges being dismissed. But now she has been charged with crimes, and unless a new deal can be negotiated, she will face a criminal trial in the coming months.