The officer decided Weinman and the other woman would have to pour out the alcohol. There would be no ticket, he decided, and he shut the body camera off, police later said.
Off-camera, however, the encounter continued and became more tense. The officer flipped the camera back on mid-discussion, presumably after he explained he would allow Weinman to leave.
“How are you going to ‘let us go’? We didn’t even drink alcohol,” she tells the officer.
The officers demand to know her last name. She repeatedly refuses.
The officer wearing the body camera asks the other officer for cuffs.
“Don’t cuff me!” Weinman says as she moves away and the officer pursues her.
“All right, you’re about to get dropped,” he tells her.
In seconds, both are in the sand in a violent struggle.
The chain of events would lead to the incident captured on a separate bystander video — an officer on top of Weinman, punching her at least twice.
The video went viral, prompting a police investigation and a response from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who said the incident was “pretty darn disturbing” before seeing the initial video.
Wildwood police, reeling under accusations of brutality and excessive force in an incident Police Chief Robert Regalbuto initially called “alarming,” released three body-camera videos Wednesday.
The new footage shows bystanders aghast at the officer’s punching of Weinman, with one holding a child but attempting to intervene over screams of “Whoa!” and Weinman screaming, saying she is being choked. “I cannot breathe!” she cries out.
Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. had previously said the videos would probably vindicate the officers. On Tuesday, he defended the police, telling Philly.com that Weinman was “by far the aggressor here” and that women are typically harder to subdue than men.
“I worked as a doorman, a bouncer,” said Troiano, who told Philly.com that his father owned a nightclub. “They can be hard to control. They’re kicking. They don’t care.”
“Everybody’s trying to paint this young lady as an upstanding model citizen,” he said. “She’s on probation for four years. She chose to attack the officer, spit on the officer. Look, I don’t care who you are and what you are, the worst people [to try to subdue] are women.”
Weinman’s attorney, Stephen Dicht, said the mayor’s comments were “irresponsible” and accused police of exaggerating the charges, including an aggravated-assault charge of spitting at or on an officer.
“The number of people who think she got what she deserved is appalling,” Dicht said.
A call to the mayor’s office was not returned.
The videos provide context minutes before the initial bystander video, which begins when an officer is already on top of Weinman, capturing the moment he brings his fist and forearm on and around her head.
Yet there are crucial moments missing from the trio of videos released Wednesday. No footage was released documenting what occurred that led an officer to reconsider a charge for Weinman. And police said she “forcibly struck” the arresting officer in the torso, causing the body camera to shut off.
It then reactivated during the struggle, police said, after an undetermined period of time.
Dicht said the body-camera footage does not change what he believes was excessive force, poor judgment and a violent overreaction to a minor infraction.
“These guys were looking for something. They weren’t going to be satisfied with what they got,” he told The Washington Post on Thursday.
Weinman’s charges include two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting at or on an officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol, police said in a statement.
Videos released do not clearly capture a moment that Weinman kicked any of the officers, though the officers said in a group discussion afterward that she “tried to kick” the arresting officer and successfully kicked another.
Dicht cast doubt on that assertion, saying there was no evidence.
He also challenged the police and mayor’s assertion that Weinman spat at an officer.
Dicht and Weinman told reporters this week she was spitting sand out of her mouth because her face was pressed to the ground. That assertion was based on Weinman’s recollection before seeing the body-camera footage, Dicht told The Post.
The video does not clearly support Dicht and Weinman’s version of events. As the officer wrestles to put on the cuffs, Weinman turns her head in the direction of an officer, rears her head back and spits. She then turns her head back to the sand.
Dicht, frustrated by questions over the spitting aspect, said it was unfair to focus on “micro-discussing” what he said is a minor issue amid larger accusations of brutality.
It is also difficult to discern whether Weinman intended to assault the arresting officer in the initial contact. She places her hands up, but it could be a defense reaction to an officer quickly closing in, he said.
The officers involved in Weinman’s arrest have been reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of a “full and thorough” investigation, police said. Troiano told Philly.com on Tuesday that they were Class II officers hired for the summer season.
A court date was set for June 6, though Dicht said it will probably be rescheduled. Weinman suffered injuries to her neck and back but no visible bruises, he said.
“You wouldn’t have this at the police academy as an example of good police work,” he said, referring to the videos.