Violent viral arrest down the shore last year leads to civil lawsuit

David Madden
October 21, 2019 - 4:30 am
An investigation is underway after video shows a New Jersey police officer striking a woman several times during a beach arrest.

Alexis Hewitt/Twitter

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) —  It was Memorial Day weekend of 2018 when a Philadelphia woman got into an argument with Wildwood cops on the beach, and was beaten as she was arrested. Video of the incident went viral. Last February, the woman admitted to a disorderly person charge and the case appeared to be closed. That is until now, as the woman is suing the cops and the city.

Emily Weinman, now 22, is contending in her civil suit that police trumped up the charges after beating her when she refused to give them her last name. Cops thought she was drinking Twisted Tea on the beach. She wasn’t. 

Brooklyn based attorney Jennifer Bonjean filed the action in Camden federal court and says that video will play a large role when the case comes to trial.

Related: Beach beating arrest down the shore ends in a plea deal

“You can watch the same video and draw different conclusions from it, right? And so, at the end of the day, a jury is going to have to decide whether the officers’ conduct was reasonable. And that is really the touchstone in deciding excessive force cases,” Bonjean told KYW Newsradio.

On the other hand, the lawyer concedes that video doesn’t exactly paint her client in the best light.

“She perhaps wasn’t as polite as some members of the public would like to see a young girl be,” she added. “But last time I checked, we live in the United States of America and we don’t necessarily have to conform our behavior or our tone of voice in a way that satisfies everybody.”

The suit also suggests the use of force by police in the town puts Wildwood in the top 20% of departments in New Jersey, and often lands the city in court.

The officers named in this suit couldn't be reached for comment, and Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said the city’s lawyers are reviewing the paperwork.