New questions are being raised about the way police officers use force after an Ocean City official has been filmed while aggressively arresting four teenagers who had been seen vaping in public.
What are the details?
A foot patrol in Ocean City, Maryland, came upon a “large group vaping” on Saturday evening, according to WJZ-TV. The police officers went closer to the group to let the individuals know that smoking or vaping outside designated areas is against local ordinances.
“Voluntary compliance of the ordinance is expected. However, the Town of OC code allows for issuance of citations for violations. Thank you in advance for your observance of this law,” the ordinance states.
Once the officers walked away from the group, one officer reportedly saw that a member of the group,19-year-old Brian Anderson, used his vape again.
The police stated that Anderson did not provide identification proof when they requested it, so they decided it was best to take him into custody.
While they attempted to arrest Anderson, 19-year-old Kamere Day started protesting against what was going on, as The Blaze reports. The officers claim he approached them when they told him to get back and stay out of the way, so they put a police bike in his path.
Day allegedly refused to follow the instructions, and the police arrested him too.
The charges against Anderson are the following:
- disorderly conduct,
- resistance and interference with arrest,
- second-degree assault, and
- failure to provide proof of identity.
Day has been charged with:
- disorderly conduct,
- obstructing and hindering,
- failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order,
- resistance and interference with arrest, and
- second-degree assault.
Things did not stop there.
18-year-old Jahtique Joseph John Lewis was also arrested after police claimed he took part in assaulting an officer. 19-year-old Khalil Dwayne Warren was subsequently taken into custody for standing on private property and disorderly conduct.
What was the disturbing fact about this encounter?
The problem highlighted all over social media was the way the police officers made the arrests. One angle of the encounter shows excessive force. The teenagers were held down forcefully. They were later carried off the Ocean City boardwalk.
How did the city react?
Ocean City officials stood by the officers’ procedure. Even though they were aware of the circumstances causing the wave of controversy on social media, they maintained that the use of force was “permitted by the officers’ training.”
“We are aware of the social media videos circulating regarding this incident. Our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance. All uses of force go through a detailed review process. The uses of force from these arrests will go through a multi-level examination by the Assistant Patrol Commander, the Division Commander and then by the Office of Professional Standards,” was the statement for WBAL-TV about the Ocean City incident.