Wildwood Cops Had No Reason to Punch Woman in Head, Lawyer Says
WILDWOOD — The attorney representing the woman charged with assaulting officers who attempted to arrest her during Memorial Day weekend said his client is not guilty and did not deserve to be punched in the head.
Since the video of Emily Weinman's arrest Saturday was made public, attorney Stephen Dicht said there have been a lot of inappropriate comments about the incident without all the facts. Dicht said the most inappropriate comments came from Mayor Ernie Troiano.
The mayor has told reporters that he believes officers were doing their jobs because Weinman was not cooperating. Troiano, however, said he had not seen bodycam footage of the incident. That footage is expected to be released after the department completes its internal investigation, according to the NBC Philadelphia.
"It's been a very troubling few days for Ms. Weinman and her mother," Dicht said. "To see your name and your face and all these comments about you, it's just been very upsetting for everybody."
Dicht said the video has drawn unnecessary public scrutiny of his client. He said it was "kind of frightening" that people are "trashing her and saying she got what she deserved."
"I think it was outrageous. I think most reasonably thinking people would agree," he said. "There's an element out there that just wants to go along with the police no matter what they do."
In her post, which has since been taken down or made private, Weinman said she asked the officers "don't they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach." She said one of the officers told her he was "gonna let you go but now I'll write you up."
Weinman said she refused to give the officer her name because she did not do anything wrong. When police attempted to handcuff her and take her into custody she said she started to back away and yell for her daughter and her father, who were in the ocean.
"I tripped and fell and the cop tackled me to the ground and smashed my head into the sand," she said. "At that point I blacked out and fought any way possible trying to get up and push him off me."
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 being a minor in possession of alcohol.
Dicht said he does not believe his client did anything wrong and does not believe she did anything that could have "provoked being punched in the head."
A petition has been started online to have the officers involved fired.
"Regardless of how Emily behaved, police are trained to handle these situations, and choking and punching a young woman is NOT in the playbook," the petition says. "Emily's breathalyzer came back negative but she is still living with the scars of that day. Meanwhile, the police officers responsible have only been given desk duty. That is unacceptable, they should be fired."
The Wildwood Police Department is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Detective Lt. Kenneth Gallagher at 609-522-0222.