OCEAN CITY, Md. — The viral video showing Ocean City Police using force against a teenager is sparking outrage and concern among parents.
Brenda Lee, who is black, said it is the topic of conversation between her and her daughter. Lee said she’s currently in Ocean City for senior week after recently graduating.
Instead of talking about her trip, she said she is once again discussing with her about how she needs to interact with police.
“Whatever they ask her to do, she’s got to do it,” Lee said. “Even if it is beyond what is right. The goal here is to come home alive.”
Lee said she was shocked by what she saw in the now viral video. It shows an officer kneeing a 19-year-old on the side repeatedly while he was handcuffed and on the ground.
Three other teenagers were also arrested in what police say started out as a vaping violation.
“Under normal conditions that’s a ticketed offense,” Lee said. "Maybe you get a fine. Maybe. Really was it that important? All those officers there and that young man had to be kneed like that.”
Ocean City Police said the teens resisted arrest, yelled profanities and were aggressive. In the video, one of the teens was seen attempting to hit one of the officers with a bike.
In a statement, police said “our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance.”
The incident in under review.
State Senator Mary Beth Carozza from Ocean City also reacted to the arrests after she said she saw the entire video, including the events leading up to what was seen in the video posted to social media.
In a statement, she said “the facts are that the four individuals detained in this incident were arrested for multiple violations including disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, obstructing and hindering, ASSAULT second degree, and resisting/interfering with the arrest. The individuals were informed of the smoking and vaping prohibition on the Boardwalk, and their follow up violent actions led to their arrest. These are the facts.”
However, State Senator Jill Carter from Baltimore disagrees.
“The behavior by all appearances looks like it’s excessive force,” she said. “It also looks like racial discrimination.”
Carter was one of the prominent voices to help pass a sweeping police reform package in Maryland, which created a statewide use of force police.
It doesn’t take effect until later this year, but she believes what happened would be in violation of the new policy and even the use of force standard currently in place at many area departments.
She also said one of the new reforms passed last session would have required the other officers to intervene.
“There must be efforts to deescalate situation and that force must be used only when necessary proportionate to the threat. There is no argument that force is necessary proportionate to a threat once someone is on the ground unable to really move.”
Lee believes better training among other changes are necessary to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
She also she is now praying for her daughter's safety.
“How could so many grown trained police officers escalate to that,” she said.
The four teenagers were charged with multiple crimes, but have since been released on bail.