Emily Weinman, a Philadelphia woman who was punched by Wildwood police and arrested while on the beach during a confrontation over alleged underage drinking, settled her lawsuit with the city for $325,000, according to court papers.
The incident on Memorial Day weekend 2018, first captured on bystander video and later by police body-camera footage, drew international attention to Weinman, then 20, and to Wildwood police, whose then-mayor, Ernie Troiano, defended their tactics, including patrolling the beach with breathalyzers and using punches to control her.
On the body-camera footage, the officer is heard telling her, “That’s it, you’re about to get dropped.”
Weinman, in turn, can be heard yelling: “You’re not allowed to beat me like that! I’m a woman! You’re not allowed to hit me like that and choke me like that. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Weinman ultimately pleaded guilty to one charge of disorderly conduct for using profanity, was sentenced to one year probation, and banned from Wildwood during that year.
Notice of the settlement, first reported by N.J.com, was contained in a letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol Sandra Moore Wells filed last month by James Birchmeier, the attorney for Wildwood.
The federal lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleged that Weinman was assaulted without justification in front of her 18-month-old daughter after she refused to provide her last name, with several bottles of unopened Twisted Tea propped up against a cooler.
The lawsuit alleged that the officers arrested her by “forcefully pushing her face and head into the sand, pulling her hair, twisting her arms, placing their full body weight on her, choking her, and eventually striking her in the face and head area with closed fists.”
The lawsuit also alleged that the Wildwood police department used force at “far higher rates” than other New Jersey departments. It said Weinman’s injuries from the incident were both emotional and physical and had led her to suffer “fright, fear, aggravation, humiliation, anxiety, and emotional distress of a past, present, and future nature.”
Birchmeier said the settlement was the subject of mediation Nov. 4 before the judge and had been subsequently approved by the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund. The settlement will result in the case being dismissed against all defendants, the letter said.
Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, who was a Wildwood commissioner at the time of the arrest, did not immediately return a call asking for comment, nor did Birchmeier.
Ashley Cohen, who represented Weinman for the Brooklyn-based Bonjean Law Group, said in an email the firm had no comment.
Troiano, the former mayor who defended his officers’ conduct and was defeated in the last municipal election, called the settlement a “travesty of justice.”
“Here’s a woman who’s carrying on on the beach, assaulted the police,” he said. “For her conduct, she gets $325,000.”
“The cops are doing their job,” he said. “They didn’t escalate it. She’s down there with alcohol. She pleads guilty, yet she gets rewarded $325,000. Treat the cops like they’re trash, break the law, if you want a pay day.”