ALL police departments should have body cameras!  If your local or state police do not have them, call for them with a rally. Here is exactly how to do it:  READ   Practical Tip – Instructions for how to cause “Good Trouble” – kra 6/8/21

Excerpts from the Article:

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is calling on Ocean City to equip its police officers with body cameras after bystander videos of several violent arrests on the boardwalk went viral last week.

In a letter to Ocean City leaders, District Public Defender Chastity Simpson said the town should adopt body worn-cameras well ahead of the 2025 deadline state lawmakers set for Maryland police departments during the 2021 legislative session. ‘A swift effort to utilize (body-worn cameras) would promote Ocean City police-community relations and show the tourism industry that we prioritize the safety and dignity of our visitors, and will take meaningful action when it appears threatened,’ Simpson wrote.

‘There is no need for Ocean City to wait until 2025 to implement this urgently needed measure,’ the letter continues.

The letter follows widespread outcry over a series of viral videos that showed Ocean City police violently arresting several young Black men.

Leaders from across Maryland decried the videos and called for an investigation. The incidents came only months after lawmakers passed sweeping police reform laws that would change police disciplinary procedures and rules for the use of force.

Those laws, including one that will mandate body cameras in all Maryland police departments by 2025, have yet to go into effect.

The uproar over the videos happened only because bystanders took videos of the police interactions, Simpson wrote in the letter.

The boardwalk videos have ‘brought Ocean City into the center of the national debate about policing and race relations, and is bringing rightful scrutiny to how our law enforcement officers treat tourists and residents,’ Simpson wrote.

The videos show two separate incidents that took place a week apart.

In one video, an officer repeatedly kneed a 19-year-old man who was crouched on the ground on the boardwalk. Ocean City police later said officers had seen a large group of people vaping, in violation of the town’s smoking ordinance, and that the 19-year-old continued to vape and refused to provide identification when police approached him.

A crowd gathered around the officers as they tried to arrest the man and officers confronted several people, ultimately shocking one person with Taser and arresting four men, all from Harrisburg.

Another video shows the June 6 arrest of an 18-year-old Cecil County, Maryland, man who was also accused of vaping on the boardwalk. Police in the video are shown surrounding the man, who has his hands raised in the air.

When the man reached slightly toward his backpack strap, an officer immediately used a Taser him.

‘The sight of a young Black man being repeatedly kneed by the police officer for being uncooperative is an unacceptable excessive use of force,’ Smith said. ‘I am looking forward to the time that we won’t have to worry about our kids and family coming to Ocean City to have a good time.’

Ocean City could also face legal action related to the arrests.

Billy Murphy, a Maryland lawyer who represented Freddie Gray’s family when Gray died after suffering an injury in Baltimore police custody, said he had already been contacted by one of the young men involved in the Ocean City incident.

moneill@gannett.com.

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