Over the weekend four teens were arrested and charged in Ocean City, Maryland, during a violent police roundup that included accusations of vaping along the popular boardwalk.
Civil rights groups and critics of excessive force question the tactics taken during the arrests as video evidence proves that unlawful white citizens are routinely taken into custody without physical harm, even when armed.
Two disturbing videos showing officers take down two members of the group made their rounds on social media. According to CBS Baltimore, cops approached the group around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police claim the teens were apprehended because they violated a local ordinance banning smoking and vaping outside designated areas. Violating the ordinance can result in fines up to $500.
However, one viral video taken by a bystander shows cops tase a Black male while he holds his hands up, surrounded by police on bicycles. In the video bystanders accuse the cops of using excessive force, claiming the teen was standing on the sidelines. When he reached to take off his backpack, tasers were employed, sending him to the ground in pain.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund shared the video and called for Maryland Attorney General Brian Fosh and Rep. Andy Haris to investigate.
Other social media accounts claim the teen was rendered unconscious and was hogtied shortly after he fell to the ground.
In a second video, another teen was taken to the ground where an officer knees the teen several times as he asks why he’s being arrested.
Police released the names of the teens apprehended during the violent arrest which include, Brian Anderson, 19, Kamere Day, 19, Jahtique Joseph John Lewis, 18, and Khalil Dwayne Warren, 19, all of Harrisburg Pennsylvania. They face charges including disorderly conduct and failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order. Officers accuse Anderson of resisting arrest after he failed to produce ID once they approached the group. Day is accused of yelling profanities at officers as they apprehended Anderson. Lewis reportedly attempted to assault the officers with a bicycle as Anderson and Day were being handcuffed and Warren is accused of trespassing on private property.
The Ocean City Police Department has said it will review the use of force in the incident.
On Sunday the OCPD tweeted the following regarding heightened calls for transparency regarding the arrests:
“OCPD was on foot patrol in the area of 12th St & the Boardwalk, when they observed a large group vaping on the Boardwalk. Four individuals were placed under arrest during this incident. We are aware of the social media videos circulating regarding this incident.”