Wildwood police chief reacts to video depicting officer punching woman during arrest

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018
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Police chief reacts to video showing officer punching woman during arrest. Brian Taff reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on May 28, 2018.

WILDWOOD, N.J. (WPVI) -- With more than 4 million views, a video captured on Saturday shows 20-year-old Emily Weinman being punched and tackled by Wildwood police officers after being approached for underage drinking on the beach.

Nineteen-year-old Alexis Hewitt of Williamstown, New Jersey was laying down nearby and started recording when she heard the commotion.

"When she fell that's what caught my eye because everyone was yelling," said Hewitt.

What happened next is hard to watch. Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto says this now viral video doesn't tell the entire story.

Action News asked Chief Regalbuto what went through his mind when it first came across his desk. "

"I clearly think it something that we need to work on but again you have to see the entire video we're going to be releasing the officers' body camera footage within the coming days," he said.

The woman in the video, Emily Weinman took to Facebook to explain she was caught with unopened alcohol on the beach and a breathalyzer test came back negative.

Weinman said, "I asked them, don't they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach. The cop said, 'I was gonna let you go, but now I'll write you up' and he asked my name."

She refused to give her name, Police say that is when she spit on the officers. The young mother now is facing charges.

Chief Regalbuto said, "Two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting on an officer, possession of alcohol under age, disorderly resisting obstruction could've been very easily solved by just cooperating."

But witnesses say training and restraint could have easily prevented this from happening. "I just think when you are in a higher power you should understand the circumstances and what you should and shouldn't be doing," said Hewitt.

Both officers involved have been placed on administrative duty.

Police have asked witnesses to come forward. They've been provided more accounts, and video from different angles that are in the hands of internal investigators and Cape May County Prosecutors office tasked with determining if this was an excessive use of force.


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