WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — A viral video of a Wildwood officer repeatedly punching a suspect on the ground is prompting the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate what led up to it. Authorities are being tight-lipped about the investigation, but they say the incident happened early Sunday morning.
Witnesses say it began inside Romeo’s Famous Pizzeria in Wildwood, before spilling outside on Pacific Avenue.
That’s where a viewer recorded a number of Wildwood police officers trying to restrain the man on the street. One officer is seen punching the man time and time again while other officers block it from view.
Wildwood police say the incident happened after a series of arrests but had no further comment because it’s still being investigated.
Joseph Kirk, of Blackwood, was visiting Wildwood with friend Ryan Wells when they saw the scuffle. Kirk recorded the incident on his phone.
“When I got there, I saw them grab him and throw him to the ground and they kept saying stop resisting, stuff like that. Then he started pounding his face honestly,” Wells said.
“It was just totally unnecessary of them punching him like that. It’s like five cops, one dude,” Kirk said.
Now the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office is working to determine what led up to the altercation and if the punches were justifiable during the arrest.
Jeff Pilla also witnessed the incident.
“I think the police department should address what they saw. Because nothing, what I saw was right was not at all,” Pilla said.
Security cameras from a restaurant across from the pizzeria captured part of the incident. Authorities are now reviewing that video.
But the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office is urging anyone else with video of the incident to contact them.