WILDWOOD, N.J. (WTXF) - Wildwood’s mayor is speaking out in the wake of a viral video showing the violent arrest of a Philadelphia woman over Memorial Day Weekend.
Wildwood, New Jersey Mayor Ernie Troiano appeared on Good Day Philadelphia Wednesday morning to discuss the incident.
The video, shared on Twitter, captures an officer pinning a woman down as she kicks her legs in the air. Onlookers in the background can be heard shouting, “stop resisting” as the officer then appears to punch the woman twice in the head. Another officer can be seen trying to subdue the woman as well.
Emily Weinman, the 20-year-old woman in the video faces several charges, including two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and a minor in possession of alcohol.
In a post on Facebook that has since been removed, Weinman, a Philadelphia resident, said she is underage and had alcohol on the beach when officers approached her. Weinman claims she passed a Breathalyzer test and, afterward, began to walk away to make a phone call. That’s when police followed her.
After Weinman reportedly refused to give the officer her name, the officer threatened to arrest her. Weinman said she began to back away when she tripped and fell. An officer then reportedly tackled her.
Police say there is body camera footage of the incident. The Cape May County Prosecutor’s office is currently reviewing it and expects to release if after they are done.
Wednesday, FOX 29’s Mike Jerrick asked Mayor Troiano if the officers took appropriate actions.
“It looks very incriminating but there are police techniques that people will frown and say what do you mean. There are techniques that – understand that police officers go through a 26-week training in house boot military-like camp. These are not these rec cops that people want to call them. These guys are extremely well trained; we have an outstanding police department,” Troiano said.
When asked if the officer throwing a punch was warranted, and what caused it to happen, the mayor questioned whether or not striking Weinman in the head was the officer’s intention.
“I question the fact that he tried to punch her in the head. I know it may look like that. If you talk to police officers that there’s a technique that’s used and you strike them in the back of the shoulders, and it stuns them,” Troiano said before adding that Weinman was “flailing around like a fish.”
Troiano says the city is not running away from the incident.
“Look, the bottom line is I’m not here saying the police are wrong and she’s right or she’s wrong and the police are,” Troiano added, “The bottom line is it’s being investigated, we’re being open about it. We’re not running away from it we’re not putting no comment. But I gotta tell you something, I wouldn’t be much of a leader of my community if I didn’t support my police department.”
When asked about Weinman’s alleged actions, including spitting on one of the officers, Troiano said he had not yet seen the body camera footage of the incident.
Jerrick also asked about Weinman apparently passing a breathalyzer test she was given by the officers on the beach.
“Doesn’t matter. She was in possession of the alcohol. She’s underage you cannot have alcohol if you’re underage,” the mayor said of Weinman’s negative test.
Troiano later said he was “not going to apologize for enforcing the law,” adding that the officers “did their job.” The mayor said if after an investigation, the officer is found to be in the wrong, the city would apologize.
Speaking off camera Monday, the police chief told FOX 29 that all three officers in the video are seasonal employees, and two are brand new to the force. The other has worked for the city for a few seasons. The two seen in the extended physical altercation with Weinman are now on desk duty. The third who held back the crowd, but can then be seen joining the other officers, remains on the street.