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Boardwalk Clashes Revive Calls for Police Legislation

Maryland officers used Taser on teen stopped for vaping
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2021 3:31 PM CDT
Police Use of Force Against Black Teens Sparks Outcry
Use of force Saturday night on the boardwalk in Ocean City has sparked calls for police investigations and legislation.   (Getty/abriggs21)

Multiple new instances in one city on the same night of police using force against young Black men have renewed pressure on Maryland's legislature to act. Lawmakers already approved police legislation in April, but it will be more than a year before parts of it take effect, USA Today reports. The new cases "underscore the urgency of the police reform legislative package passed last Session, and the need to implement those reforms purposely with fidelity," said Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Democrat, in a statement. "Each of these actions is why the Maryland General Assembly passed police reform this year," said House Speaker Adrienne Jones, a Democrat. Other officials, as well as Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP, called for state investigations of the police behavior.

The confrontations took place Saturday night on the boardwalk in Ocean City. Enforcing a prohibition on vaping, officers surrounded a teenager as a crowd watched, per the Washington Post, which posted a video. He had his hands up, though he was moving his hand toward the strap of his backpack, when a Taser was used on him. An officer then kneed him in the stomach. "Stop resisting!" one hollered. "He was standing there!" a person in the crowd yells. "You all did that for no reason." Police used a Taser on another man later and fought another who'd picked up a bicycle. The police department said, "Our officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance," adding that the events will be reviewed. "Black and brown children should not be tased while their hands are up," Jones tweeted. (More Taser stories.)

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