A group of black teenagers who were forcibly arrested by Maryland police for vaping on a boardwalk claim the officers were ‘harassing’ them before they threw their friend to the ground and hurled a bike at them.
Footage of 19-year-old Brian Anderson’s arrest on Saturday night has now gone viral after he and his friends got involved in a stand-off with police on the crowded boardwalk in Ocean City.
Anderson, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said he was walking along the boardwalk with four of his friends at about 8.30pm when officers stopped them and told him to stop using his vape pen.
Smoking and vaping is banned on the boardwalk, and is only permitted in certain designated areas of the adjoining beach.
Police have said Anderson kept using his vape pen but the teenager claims he stopped and was just holding it in his hand.
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday, Anderson and his friends said the officers followed and harassed them down the boardwalk.
Footage of 19-year-old Brian Anderson’s arrest (above) on Saturday night has now gone viral after he and his friends got involved in a stand-off with police on the crowded boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland
Brian Anderson, Jahtique John Lewis, Kamere Day and Khalil Warren (left to right) were taken into custody on a slew of charges over the boardwalk incident with police on Saturday
‘I just feel like they shouldn’t have swarmed us the way they did,’ Anderson said.
His 18-year-old friend Jahtique John Lewis said he confronted the officers about why they were following them.
‘I asked him what was the problem and they were like, ‘Tell your boy to put his pen away’,’ Lewis said.
‘As I turned around, we see public safety and police is crowding us. Next thing I know, Brian is on the floor.’
Footage of the ordeal, which was captured by a woman in a nearby restaurant, showed police throwing Anderson to the ground and shouting for him to stop resisting arrest.
One officer could be seen kneeing Anderson several times as a large crowd gathered around.
Police said Anderson had become ‘disorderly’ after they approached him the second time and asked for his ID.
They then attempted to arrest him for failure to provide necessary ID for the violation of the local ordinance.
Lewis claims that when he tried to speak to the officers, one of them threw their police bike at him.
The teen said he ‘threw it to the side’ before a ‘scuffle’ broke out between the group and officers. That moment wasn’t captured on camera, although one of Anderson’s group was seen launching a bike towards the group of cops.
Anderson and his friends said the officers followed and harassed them down the boardwalk. His 18-year-old friend Jahtique John Lewis said he confronted the officers about why they were following them (pictured above)
Lewis claims that when he tried to speak to the officers, one of them threw their police bike at him. The teen said he ‘threw it to the side’ before a ‘scuffle’ broke out between the group and officers
Police, however, said Lewis shoved one of the officers in the chest and shouted profanities at them before he picked up the bike and allegedly tried to hit an officer with it.
Officers said another one of their friends, 19-year-old Kamere Day, continued to try and approach them while shouting profanities.
Day said the group were ‘just scared at the time’ because they were being ‘attacked for no reason’.
‘Brian was in the middle of this circle getting abused by a cop. We were just trying our best to like help him in any way,’ Day said.
‘We don’t know what could happen to him. In these times, you never know what could happen to people like us.’
‘I could have been killed.’
Police arrested another one of their friends, 19-year-old Khalil Warren, for allegedly refusing to move off private property when officers asked him to.
‘I feel like they could’ve just talked to us about it instead of having to be so physical,’ Warren said.
‘There was a different way they could’ve handled that situation.’
The group of teens were eventually taken into custody on a slew of charges.
One of the teens is pictured above being thrown to the ground as he was being arrested. Another teen can be seen lying on the ground in the background after being detained
Footage of the ordeal, which was captured by a woman in a nearby restaurant, showed police engaging with the group of teens as a crowd gathered on the boardwalk
Anderson was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting or interfering with arrest, second-degree assault and failure to provide proof of identity.
Lewis was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, obstructing and hindering, second-degree assault and resisting or interfering with arrest.
Day was charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, resisting or interfering with arrest and second-degree assault.
And Warren was charged with trespassing and resisting or interfering with arrest.
In a statement about the arrests, police said they were aware of the videos circulating regarding the 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.’
That ordeal came just days after 18-year-old Taizier Griffin (above), who is also black, was tasered after he allegedly ignored a police request to stop vaping on the same boardwalk
Griffin is pictured above being arrested after he fell to the ground clutching his stomach after being hit with the taser
It came just days after 18-year-old Taizier Griffin, who is also black, was tasered after he allegedly ignored a police request to stop vaping on the same boardwalk.
A video of the June 6 encounter, which went viral earlier this week, showed Griffin being surrounded by at least five officers as he put his hands in the air.
He was struck by the taser as he reached for the strap of his backpack after an officer shouted for him to get on the ground, according to the video.
An eyewitness claimed Griffin had been asked by police to remove the bag from his back but that is not shown in the footage that has been shared online.
He fell to the ground moments later while clutching his stomach.
‘What is wrong with you?’ one person could be heard asking police. Another shouted out: ‘Y’all did that for no reason.’
Griffin’s mother, Jessica Barber, said she was thankful the incident didn’t escalate even further.
‘He was not resisting, he was not giving any issues to police officers,’ she told GMA.