Emily Weinman, the Philadelphia woman seen by millions being punched by Wildwood police on the beach, said Wednesday that she has been "anxious" and "upset" since the Memorial Day weekend incident, and asserted that "one situation doesn't define someone."
Speaking on Good Morning America, Weinman defended her actions on the beach, including refusing to give her name, which she said led the police to slam her to the ground and "want to lock me up."
"Something in my gut was telling me something wasn't right," Weinman, 20, said. "I knew my rights, I didn't have to give them my name."
She denied that being on probation from earlier assault charges motivated her to withhold her name.
Her attorney, Stephen Dicht of Ventnor, N.J., also appeared on the show and said Wildwood police "piled on" more serious charges against Weinman after video shot by a bystander went viral.
"The Saturday she was taken into custody, she was in custody a total of about 40 minutes," Dicht said. "She was taken in and charged with misdemeanors. After the bystander video came out and started getting attention, that's when they charged her with the aggravated assault."
Weinman has a court hearing scheduled for June 15 on the charges. She never was required to appear for a detention hearing, the equivalent of a bail hearing in New Jersey, before being released.
The Cape May County prosecutor announced Tuesday that the officers involved in Weinman's arrest would not be charged, but faced an internal department review.
Weinman, who was with her toddler daughter during the arrest, spoke of the toll the viral video, and the reactions of millions of strangers, has taken on her.
"I've been real anxious over it," Weinman said. "Kind of upset. The things people say about me. They see one video and one situation and say all this negative stuff about a person. But one situation doesn't define someone. I'm not a bad person. I'm not this person that they're out here trying to make me seem like."
She said her neck and back have been hurting since the incident, and she has headaches.
"It's been emotionally exhausting for me," she said.
She denied, as she had previously to the Inquirer and Daily News, spitting on the officers. She said when the officers pushed her to the beach, she got sand in her mouth.
"I was trying to defend myself," she said. "I spit the sand in my mouth, which makes me look like I was spitting at the officer, which wasn't the case. It definitely wasn't my intention at all."
She denied striking the officer, and said that if she kicked the officer, it was "after the fact."
Dicht, her attorney, said, "She didn't go out that Saturday looking for trouble. She went to the beach to have a fun time with her daughter. They're the police officers."
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said shortly after Weinman's arrest that she was "the aggressor," and said his officers did nothing wrong. But others questioned the officer's actions, including comments heard in body-camera footage from the May 26 arrest. As a police officer appears to lose patience with Weinman, he tells her: "That's it. You're about to get dropped."
The body-cam footage shows the officer pulling Weinman's hair and pinning her to the sand as she cries out in distress.
Civil rights lawyers and others have questioned whether the police overstepped their authority in continuing to pursue Weinman and seeking her name after she cooperated with and passed a breathalyzer test, and they had told her they were not going to cite her with anything. Troiano characterized the punching of the officer as a "chopping" move designed to subdue Weinman.