Over the weekend, police in Ocean City, Maryland used forced on Black teens while enforcing a local vaping ban. Video of the two incidents went viral.
On Saturday (June 12), Ocean City police are seen using force on a group of teens on the boardwalk, repeatedly kneeling into one of the teen’s bodies after the officers claim they violated the ban on vaping and smoking at the boardwalk. At least four of the teens were placed under arrest for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, among other charges following the encounter.
Local officials said in a statement released on Sunday (June 13), officers approached the group of teens for allegedly vaping in an undesignated area of the boardwalk. Later that night, police reportedly confronted the group again after officers claimed 19-year-old Brian Anderson started vaping again. The officers said Anderson refused to show his ID “and became disorderly.”
Anderson’s arrest came over the same weekend that a 18-year-old was also tased by Ocean City police officers enforcing the vaping ban at the boardwalk. That incident was also caught on video and circulated social media.
The incidents over the vaping ban ignited backlash and calls for state officials to intervene. Sherrilyn Ifill, president and direct-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, tweeted Sunday (June 13) that the state’s attorney general needs to review the videos and launch an investigation.
Ocean City officials said in a news release that they would review the officers’ actions but added that, “Our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance.”
Last year, the Ocean City Police Department came under fire after an officer put his arms around a man’s neck over an open container of alcohol, prompting more questions from the public about the officers’ use of force.
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