(WILDWOOD, N.J.) — The attorney for a 20-year-old woman who was punched multiple times by police on a New Jersey beach insisted on Thursday that officers reacted excessively.
“What they did to her was just an overreaction,” defense attorney Stephen Dicht told ABC affiliate WPVI-TV in a phone interview.
“They asked her to give a breathalyzer; she did it not once, but twice,” Dicht said. “She was very cooperative, but for whatever reason, the police didn’t stop there.”
Dicht also said that his client, Emily Weinman, has had neck, head and back pain suffered from depression since the incident last Saturday in Wildwood.
Weinman was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Dicht’s take on the incident stands in sharp contrast to Wildwood, N.J. Mayor Ernie Troiani Jr, who told the news website NJ.com this week that Weinman “refused to comply.”
“Unfortunately, this is what happened.”
Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto told WPVI-TV that Weinman was confrontational and lunged at the officer and hit him in the chest.
The two officers involved have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation into the incident.
Onlookers’ videos of the dispute circulated on social media – and sparked outrage – before police officials released the officer’s body camera footage on Wednesday.
The Wildwood Police Department released the footage from the camera worn by the officer “directly involved,” explaining that it is in three separate videos because the camera had been “turned on and off” during the encounter, according to a press release.
The first video begins as the officer hands Weinman a Breathalyzer.
“Do me a favor,” he says, holding up the yellow tool that somewhat resembles a flashlight. “Take a deep breath, and blow into that, alright?”
After the officer instructs her to “do it one more time,” Weinman says to someone off camera, “Mind your business.”
The camera was worn by the officer who was “directly involved.” There are three separate videos of the incident because the camera had been “turned on and off” during the encounter, according to a press release.
The second video begins with Weinman asking the officer if he is going to let her go. Weinman and the officer start arguing after Weinman refused to give the officers her name.
When the third video starts, the officer is wrestling Weinman to the ground.
“No, let go of me,” she screams.
During the ordeal, Weinman continues yelling expletives and complains that the officer is pulling her hair and choking her. She also screams for someone named Matt, who is apparently her boyfriend.
“I’m not choking you,” the officer says.
Dicht said he intends to fight the charges against his client.
“They didn’t find that she had done anything wrong. So there really wasn’t any reason for them to have her name. If they were going to cite her, they should have said ‘we’re issuing you a citation for whatever, this is why they need your name.’ But they never said that,” Dicht told WPVI-TV.
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