NJ cop punches woman at Wildwood beach — Was he right?
WILDWOOD — There's a lot we don't yet know about the Wildwood arrest of a woman that involved her getting punched in the face multiple times during a hectic, harried confrontation with police.
Was it an incident of police brutality? That'll ultimately be for an ongoing investigation and perhaps even a court to decide. But Robert Bianchi's not so sure.
Bianchi, a former Morris County prosecutor and now a partner at the Bianchi Law Group, has faced off against bad cops in court before — both in criminal matters and in lawsuits. But he says there's plenty to consider before passing judgment on the special officers seen confronting the 20-year-old woman, initially over the alcohol she allegedly had on the beach.
Here's some of what we know so far:
• In a policy bodycam video, Emily Weinman, 20, of Philadelphia, is seen arguing with the officers about alcohol containers and then walking away from them after refusing to provide her last name. That's already more that was captured in an earlier witness video posted to Twitter, which picked up up after the struggle between Weinman and officers had already begun. That Twitter video had gone viral, and was the first time most people saw footage of the incident.
• As she continues to refuse to comply with officers' commands, one of the officers tells her: "You're about to get dropped."
• As Weinman shouts for her boyfriend, she turns around and slams an officer in the chest, which police say caused his camera to turn off. Video provided by police appears to pick up a moment later.
• After the camera is turned back on, Weinman is heard screaming as officers try to handcuff her.
• The video shows the officer's fist swing up and down several times. A bystander's video shows the officer punch Weinman at least twice.
• In the police video, Weinman shouts that she is being choked. After she's been handcuffed, she turns around while she's still on the ground and spits toward the officers.
• In the video, the officer tells a superior that he hit Weinman after she had kicked him, although it's hard to see Weinman's legs in the video.
• Friends heard in the witness video scream at Weinman to stop resisting throughout the most hectic parts of the encounter.
Her lawyer contends there was no reason to punch her. Wildwood's mayor is standing by his cops. Meanwhile, an internal affairs investigation is looking to sort the whole thing out.
The body cam "kind of puts a different light on the entire matter," said Bianchi, also a frequent guest on New Jersey 101.5, Chasing News, Fox News, CNN and HLN. "Listen, a lot of people get confused with what they seen on these videos and what they allege to be misconduct, when in fact, the action of the officers are lawful."
So was that the case here? In the video above, Bianchi, also a guest host on the Law & Crime Network, discusses why that could be the case.
— With prior reporting by Sergio Bichao and Dan Alexander
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