ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Members of the Caucus of African American Leaders and other civil rights organizers on Monday announced plans to protest along the route to Ocean City ahead of Labor Day weekend to call attention to the violent arrests of Black teenagers on the boardwalk earlier this summer.
Civil rights activist Carl Snowden, from the Caucus of African American Leaders, said protesters would be out on Thursday “to raise the consciousness of those who are traveling to Ocean City” about the arrests.READ MORE: Man Shot, Killed In Southwest Baltimore
In one incident, on June 12, officers were shown on video repeatedly kneeling on 19-year-old, Brian Anderson, after he and his three other friends were confronted about the vaping ban.
“They wouldn’t tell me what they were arresting me for or why I was being detained,” said Anderson.
In the other incident, on June 6, police used a stun gun on 18-year-old Taizier Griffin after confronting him about vaping.
“I’m upset about getting tased but I”m just glad it wasn’t a gun,” Griffin said. “Honestly, it all started out as a normal day, and then I’m being arrested over a vape.”
Griffin, from Perryville, denied police reports that he threatened to kill officers.
Ocean City Police said the teens were disorderly and in some cases threatened officers.
Four teenagers from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were charged with a series of violations stemming from the June 12 incident.READ MORE: Maryland Residents Starting To Get Booster Shots After CDC Announcement
Snowden said the caucus also plans to pack the courtroom for the Oct. 12 trial related to the June 12 incident, file a formal complaint with the Justice Department and meet with state’s attorneys across Maryland to discuss similar cases of misconduct.
“There’s this belief that if you just keep quiet long enough, people will forget. It’s our intention to make sure they do not forget,” Snowden said.
Snowden joined civil rights organizations in June in Ocean City when they called for the suspension of officers involved in the violent arrests of black teenagers on the boardwalk over vaping.
In July, civil rights leaders took a 100-mile bus tour along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, calling it the Freedom Summer Bus Ride, stopping in towns to address systemic racism. The bus tour ended in Ocean City where the activists met Mayor Rick Meehan to personally discuss their demands but neither of their requests were honored.
Activists renewed their call for the officers to be suspended and for an independent investigation into the officers’ conduct during a press conference Monday and shared their plans to demonstrate Thursday from Annapolis to Ocean City.
“This is not the kind of vacation spot people wanna go to where there’s any concern that people are being treated differently because of pigmentation of their skin,” Snowden added.
WJZ reached out to Ocean City’s Mayor and Police Department but they have not responded.
In a June statement, Ocean City said, “Our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance. All uses of force go through a detailed review process.”MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 1.1K New Cases & 15 Deaths Reported Sunday
Snowden said the Caucus of African American Leaders is also filing a formal complaint with the Justice Department, calling for an independent federal investigation into these arrests.