A video showing a cop in Wildwood, New Jersey punching a young woman on the beach on Saturday while trying to arrest her has gone viral.
Since the video was taken, two police officers with the City of Wildwood Police Department have been reassigned to desk duty while an internal investigation is conducted, Philly.com reports.
A woman who witnessed the altercation on the beach posted the video at about 7 PM Saturday. The incident, she said in a follow-up tweet, occured at around 4 PM that day. “I was sleeping on the beach and I woke up to this.. i can’t believe it,” the original tweet containing the video read.
The video has since been viewed over 3 million times on the original tweet alone.
The video starts after police have already approached a young woman on a crowded beach who is wearing white shorts over a black bathing suit. She appears to kick at a police officer while on the ground. The cop then appears to punch her two to three times. The woman is put into a chokehold, then pinned to the sand by police.
In the video, you can hear a woman saying “Get the fuck off of me!” Voices repeatedly say “Stop resisting!” off-camera. There are screams and the cry of a baby audible in the footage.
While pinned to the ground by one of the cops, the woman exclaims “You’re not allowed to hit me!” and “You’re not allowed to hit me and choke me like that!”
“I didn’t do anything wrong!” she says. About 49 seconds into the video, the cops appear to be trying to handcuff the woman. The video ends seconds after.
A number of witnesses to the incident can be seen in the video, as a crowd gathers to watch. Towels and pieces of clothing are strewn around the area where the incident is occurring as the woman and the cops struggle in the sand.
The woman in the video, identified as 20-year-old Emily Weinman of Philadelphia, appears to have made a Facebook post about the incident, which has since been deleted or made private, according to Newsweek.
According to NBC Philadelphia, Weinman said in the post that police had approached her and a friend. She said she had unopened alcohol with her.
“Therefore I asked them don’t they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach, saying... that there’s so much more serious stuff going on,” the Facebook post said. “The cop said, ‘I was gonna let you go but now I’ll write you up’ and he asked my name.”
In the Facebook post, Weinman said that she had refused to give the cops her name, according to NBC.
The post also mentioned that Weinman taking a breathalyzer test that came back negative. (The woman who posted the video of the incident on Twitter also referenced that supposedly passed breathalyzer test when replying to someone who asked what happened before she shot the video.)
The Facebook post described how the incident caught on video allegedly began. “He told me he’s arresting me and started coming towards me to put handcuffs on me. I cautiously was backing up from him (facing him) and yelled for my daughter’s father. (he was playing in the ocean with our daughter at the time),” Weinman appears to have written.
“I tripped and fell and the cop tackled me to the ground and smashed my head into the sand,” the post continued. “At that point I blacked out and fought any way possible trying to get up and push him off me. That’s when he head locked me me by his arm around my neck, punched on me in my head and then he head locked me again but this time choking me, I was gasping for [air].”
“Like I said I didn’t do anything wrong and anything could’ve been written on that paper, the whole situation was iffy and I didn’t trust it… Especially being aware of the fact of how grimy law enforcement can be now a days,” the post appearing to be authored by Weinman read.
She has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at/on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction, and minor in possession of alcohol.
In a statement on Facebook, a City of Wildwood Police Department spokesperson responded to the incident: “Chief Regalbuto stated that while he finds this video to be alarming, he does not want to rush to any judgment until having the final results of the investigation.”