Warning: Video content is graphic
OCEAN CITY, Md. (WHTM) — Multiple individuals from Harrisburg were arrested after being involved in a police incident on Saturday, June 12, after officers attempted to enforce the vaping ban on the Boardwalk.
Officers approached the group at around 8:30 PM Saturday when they spotted several individuals vaping. They attempted to inform the men that a local ordinance prohibits smoking and vaping outside of designated areas on the Boardwalk.
As the group began to disperse, officers say they spotted one individual, later identified as Brian Everett Anderson, 19, of Harrisburg, who they say continued to vape after being told of the ordinance.
Officers then placed Anderson under arrest. Anderson was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting/interfering with arrest, assault second degree and failure to provide proof of identity.
In a video from Instagram user Lauryn Gray, officers are seen deploying a taser on one of the individuals. It is not clear which individual was tased. The police report makes no reference to a taser being deployed in the incident. An officer is also seen driving his knee into one of the men while he’s on the ground.
Three other men from Harrisburg were also involved in the incident.
Officers said Kamere Anthony Day, 19, of Harrisburg, was yelling profanities and approaching officers during Anderson’s arrest. Day continued his efforts as officers tried to get him to back up, and was then arrested for disorderly conduct. Day was also charged with obstructing and hindering, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, resisting/interfering with arrest and assault second-degree.
Officers also said they observed Jahtique Joseph John Lewis, 18, of Harrisburg, push a Public Safety Aide during the incident. Lewis picked up a police bicycle and attempted to strike the aide with it. After police took the bicycle away, Lewis allegedly assaulted the aide again and he was then placed under arrest. Lewis has been charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, obstructing & hindering, assault second degree and resisting/interfering with the arrest.
Shortly after Lewis’s arrest, officers claim they saw Khalil Dwayne Warren, 19, of Harrisburg, standing on private property next to two “No Trespassing” signs. Officers claim they told Warren to leave the property, and then Warren became disorderly and was arrested. Warren was charged with trespassing-posted property and resisting/interfering with arrest.
“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,” the Ocean City Police Department said in a posted statement with the police report.
Mayor Rick Meehan released a statement about the incident.
“We understand the public’s concern over the videos circulating on social media. The Ocean City Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards is currently investigating both incidents, per the department’s use of force policy. While the use of force is never the intended outcome, our police department’s first priority is to protect and serve. They are focused only on keeping all residents and all visitors safe by enforcing the laws and ordinances of our community, as well as defusing situations as quickly as possible and maintaining control over the environment,” Mayor Meehan said.
We are unaware of the second incident Meehan refers to at this time.
Since the release of the video, there have been reactions posted on Twitter from Brian Frosh, Maryland attorney general, and Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates.
“You have at least six officers kneeling in the side area and it appears that arm on that side is already secured or at least, immobile. It’s very troublesome,” Midstate Civil Rights Attorney Devon Jacob said.
Jacob is also a former police officer. He was part of the legal team that helped the family of George Floyd win a civil settlement in his death. “This all started over a vaping issue which is hardly a serious crime,” Jacob said.
“This is occurring in public and police have a right to be aware of their surroundings and who is upset or not upset, who will intervene, however, the police have a duty to de-escalate the situation, and what I saw was not de-escalation,” Jacob said.
The Maryland NAACP is calling for a full investigation and will hold a news conference on Wednesday. The President of the Harrisburg NAACP says the fear is real, he knows some are saying had the teens just complied and listened to commands this could have been avoided.
Reverend Franklin Hariston Allen says it’s not always that simple because he says we’ve seen black men get shot with both hands on the steering wheel. “What situation are we talking about now? Am I going to get choked, thrown down, or my head busted? What situation is this? Over vaping?” Allen said.