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Emily Weinman banned from Wildwood 1 year, pleads guilty in Memorial Day beach clash with police

Weinman, now 21, was sentenced to one year's probation. She has not ruled out a lawsuit against Wildwood police.

Emily Weinman speaks to reporters after pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct offense stemming from the beach melee with Wildwood police last Memorial Day weekend.
Emily Weinman speaks to reporters after pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct offense stemming from the beach melee with Wildwood police last Memorial Day weekend.Read moreAmy Rosenberg / Staff

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Emily Weinman admitted using profane language in a beach melee with Wildwood police last Memorial Day weekend that went viral, and was sentenced Friday to one year of probation. She was also banned from Wildwood during that time.

The plea deal, in which all charges were dismissed except one disorderly conduct offense, ends an ordeal that began when Breathalyzer-wielding Wildwood police approached the then-20-year-old Philadelphia woman on the beach and questioned her about some Twisted Tea that was nearby.

“When the officers approached me on the beach, I got upset, and I said a few curse words,” Weinman told Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury during her guilty plea. She acknowledged that her behavior was unlawful.

Weinman, 21, the mother of a toddler, said she was relieved that the incident, which received international attention after a video was posted showing an officer striking her, could be put behind her. She is also serving a probationary term in Pennsylvania on an unrelated offense.

Her attorneys, Steve Scheffler and Stephen Dicht, did not rule out future civil action by Weinman against the Wildwood officers, who were filmed tackling and punching her, with one officer yelling: “That’s it, you’re about to be dropped!”

The guilty plea stipulates that no testimony from the plea can be used in any civil action.

“I’m just happy that it’s over and everybody can move on,” Weinman told the judge.

First Assistant Prosecutor Rob Johnson told the judge the state had agreed to dismiss all remaining charges against Weinman, including aggravated assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, throwing bodily fluids and obstruction.

Outside the courtroom, Weinman said the incident, which led to debate over whether police at the New Jersey Shore were overreaching with Breathalyzer patrols and their use of force against the uncooperative Weinman, has caused her a significant amount of stress.

“I’m not going to sit here and say everything’s been fine,” she said. “It really hasn’t been. It’s kind of ruined my reputation. It’s put me down a lot. I go to a lot of places and I get stared at. But I just want people to know that whatever happened that day on the beach on the video, that doesn’t define the kind of person I am.”

She said she still considered Wildwood her “happy place.”

“It’s not going to keep me away from Wildwood,” she said, while acknowledging that at least for a year, she’s not permitted inside the city or on its beaches. “Wildwood’s always been my happy place. I’ll find something to do. I’ll find a different beach.”

Weinman said she is enrolled in Bucks County Community College and would like to pursue a career in the medical field.

Asked about the actions of the police officers that day, Weinman said she was not holding a grudge and said she had learned that cooperation would have been the better strategy in that situation.

Her attorney, however, said the officers have yet to be held accountable. Cape May County prosecutors declined to file any charges against the officers, Class II patrolmen Thomas Cannon, John Hillman, and Robert Jordan.

“We still believe whatever happened was completely out of hand,” Scheffler said. “The officers’ reaction was above and beyond what I believe was appropriate under the circumstances. Emily did whatever she indicated inside that courtroom. However, their reaction to it was excessive. Excessive is probably a light term under the circumstances.”