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GRAPHIC: 19-year-old prayed as he was kneed by officer in confrontation over vaping

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:26 AM MST|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:27 AM MST
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (Gray News) - A Black 19-year-old says he prayed for protection as he was repeatedly kneed by a police officer on a Maryland beach town’s boardwalk during a videotaped confrontation that began over vaping.

Brian Anderson told WBAL-TV that he asked God to guide and protect him “so that this officer doesn’t make this my last day.” Video shows Anderson being kneed by one officer while others hold him.

Officers had approached Anderson and his friends because vaping is prohibited on Ocean City’s boardwalk. He and three others were arrested after police say they engaged in “disorderly conduct” and resisted arrest.

The confrontation is one of two captured on video that have prompted calls from officials for police to investigate and reevaluate their use of force in such situations.

The other confrontation happened June 6 when officers approached a Black teen about vaping. Video shows the teen with his hands up, but as one hand drops toward his backpack, an officer uses a Taser on him. He was then arrested.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said in a statement Monday that the town is investigating the incidents. He said the young men were not arrested for vaping but instead for not providing identification when requested by officers.

The Town of Ocean City is currently investigating two incidents that are circulating on social media. It is standard...

Posted by Mayor Rick Meehan on Monday, June 14, 2021

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.