New Jersey police officers connected to the dramatic beach arrest last month of a 20-year-old suspected of underage drinking will not be hit with criminal charges, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
A preliminary investigation into the violent May 26 altercation, which was captured on video, found that "the actions" of the Wildwood police officers who arrested Emily Weinman “did not meet the evidentiary standards to warrant criminal charges,” under state law, a news release from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said.
The office said they came to the conclusion after reviewing police body camera video of the arrest and video shot by a beachgoer, as well as interviews from multiple witnesses and other related materials.
Initial video of the incident captured a Wildwood police officer punching Weinman twice and placing her in a chokehold before she was arrested.
In body camera video released by police, Weinman refuses to provide authorities with her last name after taking a breathalyzer test and being told by an officer that he's going to have her pour out the alcohol. As officers try to arrest her, she runs away, shouting profanities and telling them not to handcuff her.
Weinman resists arrest and as the officer continues to approach, she "forcibly struck" him in the torso, Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said — an action he claimed turned the officer's body camera off. It was apparently reactivated as the two struggled in the sand.
The officer punches the woman twice — as voices in the background could be heard shouting "stop resisting" — before Weinman spits in the direction of one of the officers.
Following the altercation, the involved officers were reassigned to administrative duty.
“As County Prosecutor, I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions,” Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland said in the news release. “A decision such as this is not based on emotion; it is based upon applying the proper laws, policies and directives that govern law enforcement.”
Amid the prosecutor’s office’s decision, the Internal Affairs Unit of the Wildwood Police Department will hold an administrative investigation, the office said.
Fox News’ Frank Miles, Nicole Darrah and The Associated Press contributed to this report.