The woman said the officers tackled her to the ground after she refused to provide her name.
The police department of Wildwood, New Jersey, is investigating a viral video that showed an officer at a local beach punching a young woman in the head.
The graphic clip, filmed by a bystander and posted to Twitter on Saturday, shows two male officers wrestling the woman, who police identified as 20-year-old Emily Weinman, to the ground before arresting her. One of the officers punches Weinman in the head at least twice before wrapping his arm around her neck and pinning her onto the sand.
“Stop resisting,” an onlooker yells repeatedly in the background.
“You’re not allowed to hit me and choke me like that,” a voice, apparently Weinman’s, shouts at the officers.
I was sleeping on the beach and I woke up to this.. i can’t believe it.. pic.twitter.com/UJE5Sy7E4G
— Lexy (@HewittLexy) May 26, 2018
The video, which has been viewed more than three million times to date, does not show the beginning of the altercation.
Police and Weinman’s preliminary accounts differ in their details.
In a Facebook post that’s since been deleted but has been reported by several news outlets, Weinman said the officers had first approached her on the beach because they’d spotted her with some alcohol. Weinman claimed the alcohol was unopened and she passed a breathalyzer test, according to NJ.com.
She said the encounter soon turned ugly, however, after one of the officers began following her as she walked away to make a phone call. Weinman said she questioned whether the officer had nothing “better to do … than to stop people for underage drinking.”
“The cop said, ‘I was gonna let you go but now I’ll write you up’ and he asked my name,” Weinman said in the Facebook post, adding that she refused to provide her name.
Weinman acknowledged that she was “partly wrong” for not giving the officer her details ― “but I was scared,” she wrote.
She said she was backing away from the officer when she tripped and fell, which is when the officers tackled her, she claimed.
The Wildwood Police Department said in a statement Sunday that it had launched a probe into the incident and that the two officers involved in the confrontation had temporarily been reassigned to administrative duty.
Weinman was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting on an officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and being a minor in possession of alcohol, police said. Weinman reportedly did not mention the criminal charges in her Facebook post.
Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said he found the video of Weinman’s arrest “alarming” but added he would not “rush to any judgment” until the probe is complete.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. told the Philadelphia Inquirer that police would soon be releasing body camera footage that could shed more light on the altercation.
The footage, he told the paper, shows Weinman “insulting the cops and spitting on them.”
Weinman allegedly also kicked one of the officers in the groin, Wildwood’s commissioner of public safety told NBC10.
When questioned on whether the officers used excessive force against Weinman, Troiano said he could not comment because he didn’t know all the facts.
“We don’t like to see anyone get hit, period,” the mayor said. “But then again, when you have someone who’s aggressively attacking you or spitting at you … I wasn’t there. I don’t know.”