WILDWOOD — A woman who was knocked down and hit by police on the beach while being arrested for refusing to give her last name has sued two officers and the city.
Emily Weinman, 22, of Philadelphia, filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Camden, alleging she was "brutally and senselessly assaulted" by police in front of her 18-month old daughter on Memorial Day weekend in 2018.
Officers were trying to identify the owners of alcoholic beverages near Weinman's beach blanket, and they alleged she hit and spat at them.
The lawsuit, filed by the Bonjean Law Group of Brooklyn, names Officers Thomas Cannon and Robert Jordan and Lt. Kenneth Gallagher in the suit, along with the city.
Mayor Ernie Troiano said Monday city officials haven't yet seen the paperwork, but "once we see it we will handle it in the proper manner."
The three Class II, or seasonal, officers involved in the arrest — Cannon, Jordan and John Hillman — did not face criminal charges.
In addition to asking for unspecified monetary damages for physical and emotional damage, Weinman is asking that the officers no longer be allowed to work in law enforcement.
"With no legal justification, defendants Cannon and Jordan assaulted plaintiff for no other reason than she refused to provide her last name to the beach patrol officers as they attempted to investigate the ownership of a few unopened bottles of Twisted Teas that were propped against a cooler near (the) plaintiff's beach blanket," the suit said.
The complaint alleges the officers continued to escalate the interaction even after Weinman voluntarily took and passed a breathalyzer test, "rather than just confiscating and disposing of the alcoholic beverages."
The suit also said Weinman was arrested for a variety of disorderly persons offenses, but was later charged with indictable offenses "based on fabricated statements of defendants Cannon and Jordan and false and fabricated grand jury testimony of defendant Gallagher."
Weinman appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” a week after her arrest, when video of the incident recorded by a bystander went viral.
Weinman was originally charged with aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at/on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and being a minor in possession of alcohol. She was 20 when the incident happened.
She pled guilty to a disorderly person's offense in 2019 and was barred from returning to the city for a year while she served probation, as part of a plea agreement with the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office.
At the time when the charges were lessened, Troiano said he wished the Police Department’s input was heard before some of the charges were dropped, predicting Weinman's lawyers would look for “a pound of flesh” from the city.