A Black teenager who was filmed being violently arrested by police in Ocean City, Maryland, over allegedly violating a vaping ban has spoken out, urging others to stand up against police brutality.
“Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in,” Brian Anderson, 19, said during an interview with ABC News set to air on Good Morning America on Tuesday.
In video posted to Instagram, police can be seen surrounding and tackling Anderson to the ground as a crowd gathers.
Shortly after, an officer can be seen repeatedly kneeing the teenager in the stomach as an officer shouts “stop resisting”.
Anderson can be heard saying "I'm not resisting" as he appears to ask what is he being arrested for.
Video of the altercation is below. Viewers may find it disturbing.
Ocean City police have said the teen was charged with assault of the second degree, disorderly conduct, resisting/interfering with an arrest and failure to provide proof of identity.
According to The Washington Post, in addition to kneeing the teenager, police also used a Taser on another individual in the crowd and had an altercation with a third who picked up a police bicycle, with many in the crowd appearing upset by officers’ actions.
Ocean City police’s statement makes no mention of a tasering incident, but confirms the second altercation.
In its statement, the Ocean City police appeared to defend officers’ actions, asserting that “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 department said.
“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,” it said.
According to police, the officers involved in the incident had been on patrol on the Ocean City Boardwalk at around 8.28pm when they noticed a group of people vaping.
They said officers told the group vaping was not permitted in certain areas of the Boardwalk, but one member of the group started vaping again as they walked away.
The police said officers then approached the group again and asked at least one person for their identification.
They said the individual refused to provide their ID and “became disorderly”.
Anderson tells a different story of what happened, asserting that he had not continued vaping, but simply held his vape up in his hand while walking.
One of his friends, Jahtique John Lewis, 18, told ABC News the group then noticed that they were being followed by the officers, who he said “kept harassing us”.
“I asked him what was the problem and they were like, ‘Tell your boy to put his pen away,’” John Lewis said. “As I turned around, we see public safety and police is crowding us. Next thing I know, Brian is on the floor,” he said.
In a comment under video of the incident on Instagram, Arianna Davis, the senior director of editorial and strategy at Oprah Daily called the footage “absolutely heartbreaking”.
“How is this STILL happening?” Ms Davis wrote. “I’m glad at least there are onlookers trying to put a stop to it. But the true tragedy is there should never be bystanders telling police officers what they’ve done is wrong.”