Police in Ocean City, Md., have fallen under scrutiny over a viral video of officers apprehending a teenager, tackling and tasing him and reportedly kneeing him in the ribs while a crowd gathered. The incident resulted in the arrests of four Black young men in the confrontation, which took place Saturday (June 12), as officers attempted to enforce a vaping ordinance. But as the video has spread on social media, many are questioning if the use of force was necessary on unarmed people.
According to CBS Baltimore, around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, officers came across a group of people on the city’s boardwalk who were vaping and told them smoking and vaping was only allowed in designated areas. But while the group walked away, one person continued to vape. Officers approached the group again, and say that the individual became disorderly and began to resist arrest.
That began a confrontation that resulted in officers wrestling one of the individuals to the ground and in the video, the officer can be seen forcing his knee into the ribcage of one of them. A taser was later used on another person and police also scuffled with one other who picked up a bicycle. In a different video, however, police are seen tasering a person whose hands are raised over his head.
“My trip to ocean city ended in 4 young black boys being abused and arrested over a vape and for standing up against the foolishness of the police,” wrote a person who posted the video to Instagram. “For those who think police brutality and the war on black people is not real watch these videos and tell me if you still [feel] the same.”
Brian Anderson, 19, Kamere Day, 19, Jahtique Joseph John Lewis, 18, and Khalil Dwayne Warren, 19, all of Harrisburg Pennsylvania were arrested and charged with multiple violations including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and second-degree assault. They were released after appearing in Maryland District Court, The Washington Post reports. The names of the officers involved have not been released.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, called for Maryland Attorney General Brian Fosh to investigate what happened in a Twitter post which showed an apparent separate incident of a person being tasered by Ocean City police.
In a statement the Ocean City Police Department said it was aware of the viral videos circulating concerning the incident and said that police are allowed to employ use of force tactics when necessary and that officials will give this incident an examination.
“Our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance,” the department said in a statement. “All uses of force go through a detailed review process.”