Mayor: Woman ’refused to comply’

Mayor: Woman 'refused to comply'

30 Mayıs 2018 - 02:00

Although he has not seen the body camera footage and said he doesn't know the full story of what led a Wildwood police officer to strike a Philadelphia woman multiple times in the head over the weekend, Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr. said that "the police were doing their job."

"She refused to comply," he said in a phone interview Monday evening. "Unfortunately, this is what happened.

Video of the incident, which went viral on social media over the weekend, shows two officers in the sand as voices yell out, "Stop resisting!" One officer in the foreground of the footage can be seen raising his right hand in a fist and striking Emily Weinman, 20, at least twice in the head.

The incident was sparked by a crackdown of underage drinking that the city has been trying to combat for years, the mayor said. According to Weinman's account of the violent arrest, which she posted on Facebook before deleting it, she had unopened containers of alcohol on the beach when officers approached her.

"People come down here to have a good time and we want them to have a good time, but we also want them to obey the laws," Troiano said. "That is not a hard thing to do. Just obey the laws. It is amazing the amount of people that just believe they can drink. It is amazing the amount of kids who come down here and just feel like the law doesn't pertain to them.

"We are taking an aggressive stance to end it."

The Wildwood Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident. Troiano said the police would soon be releasing a statement on their findings, but he could not confirm if the body camera footage would be released. He said the officers, whom he could not identify, were wearing body cameras during the incident.

 

The officers involved in the arrest have been reassigned to administrative duties pending the findings of a "full and thorough" investigation, according to the department. Troiano said the officers involved were class II officers, special part-time police officers used by many Shore towns to bolster their ranks during the summer months.

"If our officers are wrong, they're wrong and they'll be handled as such," the mayor said. ... "But when push comes to shove, I think our police officers did what they had to do."

Phone calls to the police department were not returned.

According to her account, Weinman said she passed a breathalyzer test and as she was walking away, the cops followed her, prompting her to ask if they have "something better to do."

She said she was subsequently tackled by an officer after she refused to give her name.

"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 department said in its statement about launching an internal affairs investigation.

Weinman was eventually booked on two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol. Multiple attempts to reach Weinman for comment by phone, social media messages and in person were unsuccessful.

According to court records, Weinman was arrested in 2016 on charges of burglary, simple assault, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and recklessly endangering. She eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of simple assault and reckless endangerment and received four years of probation.

Troiano said he was frustrated the incident has cast a negative spotlight on his city during the holiday weekend, but is confident the police will properly handle the investigation and that incidents like this won't be a common occurrence.

"We are a good town that treats people well, provided they act accordingly, that they act like adults and don't act foolishly," the mayor said.

Thomas Moriarty, Alexis Johnson, Chris Franklin and S.P. Sullivan contributed to this report.

Joe Atmonavage may be reached at jatmonavage@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jatmonavageNJFind NJ.com on Facebook


Kaynak:Nj.com

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