Footage captured on a New Jersey beach Saturday shows two police officers pinning a woman to the ground as one proceeds to punch her in the head.
The viral video has prompted an investigation into the officers’ actions, with many saying the woman did nothing to deserve the violent arrest.
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
The dispute, documented in video and text on social media, started after officers accused the young mother of underage drinking due to the presence of alcohol containers nearby.
According to the victim, 20-year-old Emily Weinman, who was at the beach with her 18-month-old daughter, her friend and her child’s father, police didn’t believe her when she said she was sober.
“I had alcohol, it’s Memorial Day weekend and 90 percent of people are underage drinking on the beach, without a doubt. Two cops approach me on a their four wheelers and ask me and my friend how old we are, we gave them our ages. Then, we got breathalized, and it came back negative. I told them I wasn’t drinking and the alcohol was clearly closed/sealed, which the cops seen,” Weinman wrote in a Facebook post.
“I asked them don’t they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach, saying to 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. I did not do anything wrong and anything could’ve been written down on that paper so I wouldn’t give it to him,” Weinman stated in the post, which has since been deleted.
Weinman faces a deluge of charges, including two counts of aggravated assault on a Police Officer, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol.
The woman who captured video of the event, Lexy Hewitt, described the dramatic arrest to CBS New York.
“She started screaming initially. It was almost like blood-curdling,” she stated. “The officers were on top of her on the ground and that’s when I just decided — there’s so much going on everywhere — why not, just in case [record the incident].”
On Sunday the Wildwood Police Department issued a statement asserting they were launching a “full and thorough” investigation into the matter.
BREAKING – Wildwood Police issue following statement about police altercation on the beach. Emily Weinman, seen being punched by an officer, has been charged with aggravated assault on an officer and other counts. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/oSu2TgFXYT
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) May 27, 2018
“Chief [Robert] Regalbuto stated 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 statement reads.
The officers involved have been reassigned and placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.