WILDWOOD — The three officers involved in the violent arrest of a 20-year-old woman on the beach over Memorial Day weekend will not face criminal charges, authorities said Tuesday.
Body camera footage from the incident, released last week, showed Emily Weinman, of Philadelphia, apparently refusing to give officers her last name after they cited her for having alcohol on the beach.
It is unclear whether she just put her hands up or pushed the officer, but clips show an officer wrestling her to the ground, as well as hitting her twice before wrestling her to the ground again.
“My reaction is I’m surprised but not surprised,” said Weinman’s lawyer, Stephen Dicht. “I’m surprised that they didn’t do the right thing, but I’m really not surprised that they didn’t do the right thing.”
The Press reached out to the Police Department and Mayor Ernie Troiano, but no one returned a request for comment.
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A preliminary investigation found the actions of Class II, or seasonal, officers Thomas Cannon, John Hillman and Robert Jordan did not meet the standards for criminal charges under state law, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release.
“As county prosecutor, I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions,” Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said in the news release. “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. 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.”
After the incident, the Police Department reassigned two of the officers to administrative duty while conducting an internal investigation, while the third officer came to the scene late and was not involved in any violence, according to the release.
Dicht pointed out the officer who said, “You’re about to get dropped,” was not charged, the officer who hit Weinman was not charged, but his client was charged.
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Weinman has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at/on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol.
“We have to defend Emily in court on the criminal charges, that’s the next step,” Dicht said, adding there will probably be a trial. “We have to defend her, and we will.”
Weinman is scheduled for a first appearance at noon June 15 in the Cape May County Courthouse.