The actions of officers whose arrest of a Wildwood beach-goer went viral did not rise to criminal charges, the Cape May County prosecutor announced Tuesday.
The preliminary investigation included reviewing video from the arresting officer’s and transporting officer’s body cameras, video from a private citizen, police vehicle video, interviews with independent witnesses and the written arrest reports and summonses, Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said.
Emily Weinman, 20, refused to give her name when police tried to write her up for having alcohol on the beach since she is underage.
Weinman insisted in a since-deleted Facebook post and in the video that she had not had anything to drink. A Breathalyzer confirmed that, she said.
But the officer told her she still could not have the alcohol under 21.
The video from another beach-goer went viral, showing Weinman screaming and being punched at least twice by an officer.
“I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions,” Sutherland said in a statement released on Facebook. “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.”
He added that “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.”
Police body camera footage later released by Wildwood police shows how the incident began, where Weinman continues to refuse to give her name after an officer gives her several chances before trying to place her under arrest.
She backs away from him and then is seen pushing both hands toward him, as if to shove him away.
Even after she was in cuffs, Weinman continued to yell and curse at the officers, and twice tried to push them off of her as she is led toward a police vehicle in cuffs.
Her 18-month-old daughter can be heard crying through some of the tapes.
“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,” Sutherland said.
The information was reviewed in accordance with the Attorney General’s Use of Force Policy. The review, Sutherland said, was consistent with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures.
Because both the criminal investigation of Weinman and the Internal Affairs investigation concerning the officers are ongoing, Sutherland said he would not be granting interviews in the case.