No charges for police who punched woman during arrest on NJ beach
PHILADELPHIA — The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday that no criminal charges are warranted against the Wildwood, N.J., police officers who were filmed arresting a 20-year-old Philadelphia woman, including the officer filmed twice punching the woman in a video seen by millions.
Instead, the Wildwood Police Department’s internal affairs unit will continue conducting an administrative investigation into the arrest of Emily Weinman, officials said, “with monitoring” by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s office Professional Standards Unit.
The three officers involved in the arrest are Class II officers, temporary officers typically hired for the summer season. They are trained at the Police Academy and carry guns.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said the preliminary investigation by his office consisted of reviewing police body-camera footage from the arresting officer, review of video taken by a private citizen of the later part of the altercation, additional body-camera footage of the officer who transported Weinman, police vehicle video, internal affairs interviews of witnesses, arrest reports and other police documents.
“As County Prosecutor, I recognize that the video footage has raised a lot of questions regarding the officers’ actions,” Sutherland said in a news release. “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.”
He added: “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.”
Stephen Dicht, Weinman’s attorney, said he was “not surprised” by the prosecutor’s decision. Weinman is facing multiple charges stemming from the incident, including aggravated assault on a police officer and spitting at a police officer.
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
House GOP targets Natural Resources Defense Council
WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Committee on Natural Resources say they are launching a probe into the relationship between China and the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the country’s leading environmental groups.
The investigation marks the latest probe by the committee into private groups or nongovernment organizations that oppose the GOP and Trump administration environmental and public land agenda.
In a letter sent Tuesday, Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., ask the NRDC to clarify how its stances and advocacy on U.S. environmental policy may be affected by its relationships with foreign entities, chiefly China.
“The Committee is concerned about NRDC’s role in aiding China’s perception management efforts with respect to pollution control and its international standing on environmental issues in ways that may be detrimental to the United States,” the lawmakers wrote. “The NRDC’s relationship with China has many of the criteria identified by U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement as putting an entity at risk of being influenced or coerced by foreign interests.”
The NRDC’s policy positions are backed by “sound science, U.S. law and the public interest,” according to Bob Deans, its director of strategic engagement.
“We work on behalf of every American to protect our people against dangerous pollution and leave our children a livable world,” Deans added. “Those are American values, American goals, and advancing them is manifestly in our national interest, as we have consistently demonstrated for nearly 50 years.”
This probe is not the first by House Natural Resources Republicans targeting advocates with opposing views. Last year, the committee launched a letter and social media rebuttal to outdoor outfitting company Patagonia’s advocacy campaign in opposition to the Trump administration’s national monument rollback for sites in Utah.
The issue, according to Republicans, is that to operate in China, the NRDC must adhere to strict operating rules. To maintain access, the NRDC may be vulnerable to coercion, the lawmakers alleged, which could influence how the group approaches U.S. policy. The NRDC has been one of the chief opponents of the Trump administration deregulatory effort, filing numerous lawsuits to prevent them from going forward.
The lawmakers accused the environmental group of “self-censorship, issue selection bias, and generally refraining from criticizing Chinese officials” in its news releases and other public information.
Should those accusations be true, the letter said, the group could be in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Man who found toddler’s body wants defamation case against Casey Anthony to go to trial
ORLANDO, Fla. — The man who found the body of Caylee Anthony after a six-month search for the toddler nearly 10 years ago is asking a judge to let his defamation case against Casey Anthony go to trial.
Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder charges in Caylee’s death in 2011. During the trial Anthony’s attorneys claimed Roy Kronk killed Caylee, planted her remains, had her body for months and is guilty, Kronk said in his initial defamation complaint, filed in 2011.
The case was put on hold while Anthony went through bankruptcy proceedings. Now, in a response to a motion from Anthony asking for a summary judgment, Kronk’s attorney argued the case should go to trial, preferably in the same courthouse where Anthony was acquitted.
Attorney Jonathan Sykes also argued that Dominic Casey, a private investigator involved in the case, should be allowed to testify despite objections from Anthony’s attorneys.
As of Tuesday afternoon the federal judge handling the case had not filed any orders on the motion.