WILDWOOD, N.J. – Video footage from a camera attached to the uniform of a city police officer involved in the violent arrest of a beachgoer over the Memorial Day weekend reveals what happened in the moments leading up to the confrontation.
The incident Saturday previously made international headlines when smartphone video surfaced showing an officer punching a 20-year-old woman in the head twice during her arrest.
On Wednesday, the Wildwood Police Department released three body-cam video recordings from the arrest with the faces blurred out of those who on the beach who were not involved.
One video shows an officer being forcibly struck in the torso by the woman.
The videos chronicle the interaction between the officers and Emily Weinman of Philadelphia as police questioned her about whether she had consumed alcohol on the beach — subjecting the underage woman to a Breathalyzer test.
“During the initial encounter, the officer can be heard stating that he was just going to have Ms. (Emily) Weinman pour the alcohol out, without issuing any violations and then he terminates the recording,” said Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said in a prepared statement that accompanied the video.
The second video is from the officer re-activating his body-worn-camera. During this video, the officer makes a determination to place Weinman under arrest, and upon attempting to do so, is forcibly struck in the torso – about the same location where the body-worn camera is mounted, causing the camera to shut off.
In the third video, the officer is involved in a physical confrontation with Weinman and the camera is re-activated during the struggle, recording the remainder of the encounter.
“This matter is still under investigation, however, in an effort to ensure transparency with the public we serve, it was imperative that this video be released as soon as feasibly possible,” Regalbuto said in the statement. “Upon the conclusion of the investigation in the coming days, and only after final review by the Cape May County Prosecutors Office, the Wildwood Police Department will release the findings and outcome of the investigation.”
All of the officers involved in the arrest are Class II Special Law Enforcement Officers – police officers who are traditionally hired for the summer months in Shore towns – and are usually young men and woman who are thinking of or intend to pursue full-time careers in law enforcement.
The officers were identified as Thomas Cannon, John Hillman and Robert Jordan.
The officers involved have been reassigned to administrative duties.