WILDWOOD, N.J. (WTXF) - **WARNING: Graphic Content**
A video showing police officers wrestling a woman to the ground and punching her in the head on a Wildwood beach has sparked backlash online.
The video, shared on Twitter, captures an officer pinning a woman down as she kicks her legs in the air. Onlookers in the background can be heard shouting, “Stop resisting” as the officer punches the woman in the head twice.
I was sleeping on the beach and I woke up to this.. i can’t believe it.. pic.twitter.com/UJE5Sy7E4G— Lexy (@HewittLexy) May 26, 2018
Another officer can be seen trying to subdue the woman as well.
The 20-year-old woman in the video faces several charges, including two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and a minor in possession of alcohol.
The City of Wildwood Police Department released a statement on their Facebook page stating, in part:
An Internal Affairs Investigation was immediately initiated into this matter and the involved officers have been reassigned to administrative duty pending the outcome of a full and thorough investigation.
Chief Regalbuto stated that while he finds this video to be alarming, he does not want to rush to any judgement until having the final results of the investigation.
Emily Weinman, W/F, 20 years old of Philadelphia was charged with Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer (2 Counts), Aggravated Assault by Spitting Bodily Fluids at/on a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction and Minor in Possession of Alcohol.
The video comes almost a year after a similar incident, in which a video captured a Wildwood police officer punching a man in the face.
The woman who posted the video to Twitter said the incident happened shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday.
In a post on Facebook that has since been removed, Emily Weinman, of Philadelphia, said she is underage and had alcohol on the beach when officers approached her. Weinman reportedly passed a breathalyzer test and, afterwards, began to walk away to make a phone call. That’s when police followed her.
"I asked them don't they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach," she wrote. An officer reportedly told Weinman, "I was gonna let you go but now I'll write you up."
When Weinman reportedly refused to give the officer her name, the officer threatened to arrest her. Weinman said she began to back away when she tripped and fell. An officer then reportedly tackled her.
In her Facebook post, Weinman conceded that she should have complied with the officer's request, but did not out of fear.
“I know I should’ve gave him my name,” Weinman said. “I was partly wrong in a way but I was scared.”
On the soggy boardwalk Sunday, public opinion seemed to skew in favor of Weinman.
“I was just really disgusted by it. I think no matter the situation, I don’t think a woman should be beaten that way,” said Morgan Stevens.
“I think there’s a difference between defending yourself and conducting a reasonable arrest,” said Kelly Bryson.
“I don’t like it. Cops shouldn’t act like that. Police are supposed to care for us, protect us,” said Naim Kerbag.
“There are certain points where you have to defend yourself and some points where you’re not, they knew this weekend was going to be a little out of hand and I feel like they should have handled it properly,” Allison Hartwyk explained.
Speaking off camera Monday, the police chief tells FOX 29 that all three officers on the video are seasonal employees and two are brand new to the force. The other has only worked for the city for a few seasons. The two seen in the extended physical altercation with Weinman are now on desk duty. The third who held back the crowd but can then be seen joining the other officers is still on the street.
Police say there is body camera footage of the incident, but the police chief says they are deciding whether to release the video.
Wildwood police are asking anyone with new video to come forward.