No charges for NJ officers in controversial beach arrest
The Wildwood PD’s internal affairs unit will continue an administrative investigation into the May 26 arrest
By Amy S. Rosenberg
WILDWOOD, N.J. — The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday that no criminal charges would be filed against the Wildwood police officers who were recorded arresting a 20-year-old Philadelphia woman, including the officer who twice punched the woman in a video seen by millions.
Instead, the Wildwood Police Department’s internal affairs unit will continue an administrative investigation into the May 26 arrest of Emily Weinman, officials said, “with monitoring by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Unit.”
The three officers involved in the arrest are Class II officers, temporary officers typically hired for the summer season. They are trained at the police academy and carry guns.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said the preliminary investigation by his office consisted of reviewing police body-camera footage from the arresting officer, review of video taken by an onlooker of the later part of the altercation, additional body-cam footage of the officer who transported Weinman, police vehicle video, internal affairs interviews of witnesses, arrest reports and other police documents.
“As county prosecutor, I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions,” Sutherland said in a 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.”
He added: “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.”
Stephen Dicht, Weinman’s attorney, said he was “not surprised” by the prosecutor’s decision. Weinman is facing multiple charges stemming from the incident, including aggravated assault on a police officer and spitting at a police officer. She passed a breathalyzer test, and told the officers the unopened Twisted Teas near her on the beach belonged to an aunt. She then cursed at and insulted the officers, and refused to give her name.
“It’s ironic, the officer who said ‘You’re about to get dropped’ isn’t charged,” Dicht said. “The one who beat her on the head wasn’t charged. The only person charged is the one who was dropped and beaten on the head.”
Wildwood police identified the three police officers as Class II Patrolmen Thomas Cannon, John Hillman, and Robert Jordan.
The video sparked outrage over the officers’ actions toward Weinman and criticism of Weinman’s treatment of the officers, as well as questions over Wildwood’s use of portable breathalyzers, with officers going blanket to blanket policing underaged drinking.
Mayor Ernie Troiano, who has been outspoken about the video and described the woman as “the aggressor,” declined to comment on the prosecutor’s findings Tuesday and said his office would issue a statement.