New Jersey police chief reacts to video showing officer punching woman during beach arrest

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Police chief reacts to video showing officer punching woman during arrest. Brian Taff reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on May 28, 2018. (WPVI)

A New Jersey police chief is speaking out after a video already viewed more than four million times showed a violent confrontation on the beach over the holiday weekend.

The video captured on Saturday shows 20-year-old Emily Weinman being punched and tackled by Wildwood police officers after being approached for underage drinking on the beach.

Nineteen-year-old Alexis Hewitt of Williamstown, New Jersey, was lying down nearby and started recording when she heard the commotion.

"When she fell, that's what caught my eye," she said. "Because everyone was yelling."

What happened next is hard to watch, though Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said the now-viral video doesn't tell the entire story.

"I clearly think it something that we need to work on, but again, you have to see the entire video," he said. "We're going to be releasing the officers' body camera footage within the coming days."

Weinman took to Facebook to explain she was caught with unopened alcohol on the beach before passing a breathalyzer test.

"I asked them, don't they have something better to do as cops than to stop people for underage drinking on the beach," she wrote. "The cop said, 'I was gonna let you go, but now I'll write you up,' and he asked my name."

She refused to give her name, and police say that is when she spit on the officers. The young mother now is facing charges.

"Two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting on an officer, possession of alcohol under age, disorderly, resisting, obstruction," Regalbuto said. "Could've been very easily solved by just cooperating."

But witnesses say training and restraint could have easily prevented this from happening.

"I just think when you are in a higher power you should understand the circumstances and what you should and shouldn't be doing," Hewitt said.

Both officers involved have been placed on administrative duty.

Police have asked witnesses to come forward.

They've been provided more accounts and video from different angles that are in the hands of Internal Affairs investigators and the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, which are tasked with determining if this was an excessive use of force.

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arrestunderage drinkingviral videoSouth Jersey
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