WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The Cape May County prosecutor’s office says it is investigating a video that shows a police officer punch a woman in the head on a Wildwood beach over the weekend.
On Tuesday, the town’s mayor appeared to defend the officer’s actions.
The recording starts with the woman kicking at one officer, while another tries to pin her down. As people shout ‘stop resisting,’ another officer punches her twice in the head.
“You’re not allowed to hit me like that!” she screamed.
The video has made the rounds online, with some claiming excessive force.
“It’s disturbing, but it’s not outside the realm of reasonable force,” Jon Shane associate professor of criminal justice at John Jay College, told Gainer.
Shane is a former Newark police officer with 20 years on the job.
“If you watch the early, earliest footage when she begins to kick out at one of the officers, she tries to kick the officer in the groin. So you know she has a propensity for violence, and to strike her that way to try to subdue her is not unreasonable, given what she’s already demonstrated,” he said.
Wildwood’s police chief called the video disturbing, though he said he doesn’t want to rush to judgement until an investigation is complete.
“I haven’t seen it, but it’s pretty darn disturbing based on what I’ve heard,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Again, I have not seen the video.”
The woman has been identified as 20-year-old Emily Weinman, of Philadelphia.
In a since-deleted Facebook post she wrote, she was at the beach with her 18-month-old daughter, the child’s father and a friend when police asked her age.
“I had alcohol,” but that “I told them I wasn’t drinking and the alcohol was clearly closed.” Later, she added, “…we got Breathalyzed, and it came back negative.”
She admitted to repeatedly refusing the officers’ requests to give them her name, and said when they approached to handcuff her she tripped and cops tackled her.
Weinman conceded she should have given police her name, writing, “I was partly wrong in a way. But I was scared.”
“All you have to do, whether you like it or not, is to comply with their request. They are the police. All they asked for was an identification. But if I was on probation, maybe if I wouldn’t want to give my identity up,” Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said.
Weinman was on probation stemming from a 2014 arrest on charges of burglary. She has now been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, spitting bodily fluids at an officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and minor in possession of alcohol.
Police say there is bodycam video of the incident, which will be released.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative duty pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.
Police also ask anyone that was there during the arrest and might have other video to come forward.