Video of police officers punching a 20-year-old woman during an arrest at a New Jersey beach has led to a nationwide outcry and now an internal investigation.
The arrest took place in Wildwood, New Jersey, amid Memorial Day weekend celebrations. Police arrested 20-year-old Emily Weinman in an incident that was caught on a cell phone video from another beachgoer. As the New York Daily News noted, the video showed the police officer straddling the woman and punching her head as he yelled at her to stop resisting. Some onlookers were also yelling at police to stop hurting the woman, while others pleaded with her to stop resisting.
The woman was heard yelling for police to stop and pleading that she hadn’t done anything wrong. At least one report claimed that the woman kicked a police officer in the groin during the arrest attempt, but the video did not show any attacks from the woman, the New York Daily News noted.
The video went viral after being posted to the internet on Saturday night, garnering millions of views and stories in news outlets across the country. It also led the police department to launch their own investigation into the incident.
“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 and thorough investigation,” the Wildwood Police Department wrote in a statement posted on Facebook. “While Chief [Robert Regalbuto] finds this video to be alarming, he does not want to rush to any judgment until having the final results of the investigation.”
The woman claimed that police approached her while she was drinking a beer and administered a breathalyzer test. After an officer followed Weinman when she stepped away to make a phone call, she called them out.
“I asked them don’t they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach,” she wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post, as reported by the New York Daily News.
That prompted the arrest, the woman said. Video of the arrest can be seen in the tweet below.
Weinman refused to give the officer her name as he wrote her a ticket, and she claims that the officer then tackled her as she backed away and tripped.
Police charged Weinman with a number of offenses including aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and minor in possession of alcohol.