News

Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has completed a preliminary investigation regarding the Wildwood Police Incident on May 26th, 2018

June 5, 2018

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has completed a preliminary investigation regarding the police incident involving Ms. Emily Weinman and the Wildwood Police that took place on Saturday May 26th, 2018.

The object of the preliminary investigation was to determine whether the actions of the arresting officer or officers potentially violated NJS 2C:3-7, Use of Justifiable Force to effect an arrest, or any other related criminal statutes. The purpose of the preliminary investigation was to determine whether the Professional Standards Unit (“PSU”) of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office conducts the Internal Affairs investigation based on possible criminal charges against the arresting officer(s), or the Wildwood Police Department conducts an Administrative Internal Affairs Investigation. This review is consistent with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures; Issued August, 1991, last revised November, 2017, Section III.E(2). (Available at http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/agguide/internalaffairs2000v1 2.pdf)

It was determined by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s office that the actions of the arresting officer(s) did not meet the evidentiary standards to warrant criminal charges under NJS 2C:3-7 or any other related criminal statutes. As a result of this finding, the Wildwood Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit is conducting an Administrative Investigation, with monitoring by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s PSU.

The preliminary investigation consisted of reviewing Police Body Worn Camera (IIBWC”) footage from the arresting officer, review of video taken by a private citizen of the later portion of the altercation, BWC footage of the officer transporting Ms. Weinman, police vehicle video, internal affairs interviews of several independent witnesses, and the written arrest reports and summons and complaints. This information was reviewed in accordance with the Attorney General’s Use of Force Policy. (http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/agguide/useofforce2001.pdf).

As County Prosecutor, I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions. 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. Members of the public should understand that no matter what your opinion is regarding the subject event, it is not based on a full review of the evidence. Ms. Weinman and her attorney are entitled to due process and they have not yet received the information that they will be entitledto as part of the legal process.

Given that this is an on-going Internal Affairs Investigation and a pending criminal matter, no interviews will be granted to protect the process and to comply with State of New Jersey Executive Order # 69 (http://www.nj.gov/infobank/circular/eow69.shtml) and New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct RPC 3.8(f)
(https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/attorneys/assets/rules/rpc.pdf).

Jeffrey H. Sutherland
Cape May County Prosecutor