Body camera footage released Wednesday shows cops relentlessly beating a young mother on the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. Notably, this footage fails to show the mother kicking one of the cops in the groin–the official storyline previously given to justify the officers’ use of force.
Last Saturday, 20-year-old mother Emily Weinman was hanging out with her friends at a beach on the Jersey Shore. Weinman and her group had alcohol in their possession but after being questioned about the booze, she was able to pass a series of breathalyzer tests.
Words were exchanged between Weinman and the cops who continued to tail her. She eventually declined to provide identification and was then brutally arrested by two officers with the Wildwood Police Department. Officials, including Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said bodycam footage would vindicate the officers’ actions. That doesn’t appear to be the case.
Before seeing the bodycam footage, Troiano did a pro-police publicity tour where he repeatedly attacked Weinman’s character and praised the actions of the officers–in part because he believes young women are difficult to subdue. He said, in comments to The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Everybody’s trying to paint this young lady as an upstanding model citizen. She’s on probation for four years. She chose to attack the officer, spit on the officer. Look I don’t care who you are and what you are, the worst people are women.
Troiano also promised the bodycam footage would show certain things occurred before the cell phone video cut in on the incident. He told NJ.com, “She assaults them, she spits at them, she kicks them. At that point, the police officer did what he had to do. From what I gather from the people that looked at it, you’ll see that the officers were restrained in what they did.”
Instead, the bodycam footage–spaced across three videos–shows nothing of the sort.
In the first video, Weinman repeatedly passes a breathalyzer test administered by the same officer.
The second video begins with the officer and Weinman arguing about alcohol laws and who the booze belongs to. Then the officer threatens to issue Weinman a citation for underage possession. She says the alcohol belongs to her aunt. Throughout, the officer asks where Weinman’s aunt is; Weinman repeatedly says her aunt is on her way back and asks the officers to wait for her. The officers decline.
The same officer then threatens to write Weinman up for obstruction. She complains that her 18-month-old daughter is sleeping nearby. The officer doesn’t appear to care but says Weinman isn’t cooperating and is “causing a scene.” Weinman then comments on how the officers are just upset because they falsely believed she was drinking and because they “wasted [their] time.”
After Weinman refuses to give her last name, the officer snaps and asks his partner for cuffs. Weinman shouts, while walking backwards, visibly afraid, “Don’t fucking touch me. Don’t touch me.” The officer replies, “Yo. Alright, you’re about to get dropped.” As the second video cuts out, it’s unclear whether Weinman is raising her hands in self-defense or to shove the officer.
The third video shows Weinman pinned on the ground, shouting and crying. At no point does she spit on the officers in question–as repeatedly claimed by Troiano before the video was released. Weinman does, however, spit sand out of her mouth exactly one time after having her face shoved into the beach, but the sand doesn’t appear to strike an officer.
Original police accounts also claimed a groin injury prompted an officer to chase Weinman down. That alleged groin attack-and-injury appears nowhere on the released footage.
At one point, while being beaten and wrestled by the arresting officer, Weinman shouts, “Get off of me. What are you doing? You’re choking me. They’re choking me. I cannot breathe.” The officer disputes this while pulling Weinman by the hair and bashing her face into the packed sand over and over.
Weinman shouts again, “You’re not allowed to beat me like that! I’m a woman! You’re not allowed to hit me like that and choke me like that. I didn’t do anything wrong.” Eventually two, then three cops in total join in to pin Weinman down and cuff her. She says to the police, “I can’t believe you did that.”
As she walks away in tears, a cop on either side, Weinman appears to admonish one of many bystanders on the beach that day, “Don’t stare unless you’re going to fucking help.”
[image via screengrab/Wildwood Police Department]