Police officers in Ocean City, Md., are apparently being investigated after video footage showed them beating and tasing Black teens Saturday for committing the egregious crime of *checks notes* vaping on the boardwalk.
Ocean View officials said in a statement that they are reviewing the officers’ behavior but mentioned in the same statement that officers are allowed to use force in response to even a hint of resistance from a civilian—a sentiment that is especially eye roll-worthy considering the fact that one video clearly shows a Black teen with his hands raised being tased within a split second of him lowering one hand towards his backpack.
The Washington Post reports that four teenagers were arrested after the incident, which was recorded by witnesses in videos that have since gone viral.
One video shows a group of officers struggling with one of the teens who was on the ground when one of the officers began repeatedly kneeing the teen while other officers held him down and another officer is heard shouting, “Stop resisting!”
Ocean City officials wrote in a statement that “Our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance,” but many are still wondering why the hell cops felt the need to go so hard in enforcing the city’s vaping laws.
For example, Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, urged Attorney General Brian Frosh to “investigate these multiple incidents involving police and unarmed Black teens in Ocean City, MD.”
The thing is, even if a person looks at the first video and wants to know what happened before the camera started rolling to see if the one officer was justified in repeatedly ramming his knee into a teen’s side, the second video—which shows a teen with his hands raised being tased for seemingly no reason—is a clear indicator of how overly aggressive officers often are when dealing with Black youth.
Here’s what the police said led to the struggle in the first video as reported by the Post:
On Saturday, authorities said they were patrolling the boardwalk on foot when they noticed a group of teenagers vaping, according to a news release. The officers informed the group that vaping on the boardwalk was prohibited under a local ordinance, except in designated areas. As the group walked away, officers noticed one of the teenagers starting to vape again, officials said.
Police said the man, 19-year-old Brian Everett Anderson, did not provide identification and became “disorderly.” When they moved to arrest him, Anderson resisted, the authorities allege.
As police were arresting Anderson, authorities said that 19-year-old Kamere Anthony Day was “yelling profanities” and “approached” the officers. Although police told him to back up, authorities allege Anderson continued to approach them and then resisted arrest. Meanwhile, authorities said, 18-year-old Jahtique Joseph John Lewis tried to hit an officer with a bicycle and also resisted arrest.
Khalil Dwayne Warren, 19, was later arrested for standing on private property next to two “no trespassing signs,” officials said. He then became “disorderly” when told to move, officials claim.
First off: Maybe Black people would resist arrest less often if cops didn’t always seem to be looking for any and every petty excuse to arrest them. Imagine arresting a person for “approaching” you and then acting surprised when said person doesn’t just immediately submit to your authority.
Anyway, what can be seen in the video is onlookers growing increasingly hostile towards officers over their uses of force and erupting in outrage once the kneeing starts. A few onlookers can be seen approaching the police and one man is seen grabbing an officer’s bicycle before being pushed back by cops as they clashed with the bystanders.
In the video that shows a teen being tased while his hands were up, a bystander can be heard shouting at an officer, “He was standing there! You all did that for no reason.”
According to the Post, the four teens who were arrested were charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and second-degree assault, and were released after appearing in Maryland District Court.