Brian Everett Anderson, Kamere Anthony Day, Jahtique Joseph John Lewis and Khalil Dwayne Warren, all 19, from Harrisburg, gained notoriety in mid-June when video footage of Ocean City Police officers using force while arresting them went viral.
Videos of snippets of the incidents, which occurred around 8:30 p.m. June 12 near 12th Street on the Boardwalk, showed officers forcefully restraining several individuals who they said were combative and resisting arrest after being told not to vape on the Boardwalk. Several of the videos went viral, with national news outlets picking up the footage and denouncing the actions of the officers in the clips.
All four of the men were arrested on an array of misdemeanor charges stemming from the incident, including disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering, failure to obey reasonable and lawful order, resisting and interfering with arrest, second-degree assault, trespassing, and failure to provide proof of identity.
Earlier this month, Day and Lewis entered pleas and were convicted in Worcester County District Court.
Anderson and Warren were in court Monday on charges they face stemming from the incident. Worcester County State’s Attorney Kristin Heiser said that while Warren’s case was postponed until Dec. 22 at his attorney’s request, Anderson’s trial was held. She said the judge took witness testimonies and asked his attorney to submit memoranda on a legal issue that he wants to review before ruling on the case. Anderson’s next court date is set Jan. 5, where Heiser said the judge will hear closing arguments and review the memoranda before making a final decision.
According to police reports, Anderson spearheaded everything when he continued to vape on the Boardwalk after officers told he and his group that a local ordinance prohibited smoking and vaping outside of designated areas. Anderson reportedly refused to provide proof of identification and became disorderly. At the same time, the group of people with him began to congregate around the officers.
Officers attempted to place Anderson under arrest, and he started to resist, until he was eventually taken into custody, reports said.
Anderson is charged with disorderly conduct, resisting and interfering with an arrest, second-degree assault, and failing to provide proof of identity.
Warren was reportedly on private property next to two “no trespassing” signs and police ordered him to leave if he was not staying there. Reports said he became disorderly and officers tried to place him under arrest. Police said he resisted but was eventually placed in handcuffs and detained.
Warren is charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.
Day pleaded not guilty with a statement of facts on Nov. 3. to resisting and interfering with an arrest — one of five charges he faced initially. Police said Day started yelling profanities at them when they took Anderson into custody for vaping after they told him to stop. According to court records, Day was found guilty and sentenced to two years probation.
Lewis pleaded guilty on Nov. 15 to resisting and interfering with an arrest. He also initially faced five charges after police said he pushed a public safety aide in the chest, yelled profanities at him and then picked up a police bicycle and attempted to strike an aide with it. Court records show that the judge gave him probation before judgement and placed him on probation for a year.
The snippets of viral video show officers using excessive force against two of the men charged. In one instance, officers used a Taser on one of the men, while another showed the law enforcement representatives repeatedly kneeing one of the men in the ribs while he laid on the ground. None of the videos that were shared show the details of the incident from start to finish.
Regardless, the footage went viral because of the brutal nature of the officers’ actions in the scenes shown, and the fact that the defendants were Black. Lawmakers, members of social justice groups and others, mostly from Baltimore and other central Maryland cities, have come to Ocean City several times since the incident to bring attention to the issues and push for action against the officers involved.
On Monday, members of the Caucus of African-American Leaders, which has chapters across the state, showed up in front of the courthouse at 65th Street planning to protest.
A bus with nearly 20 people loaded up that morning in Annapolis and traveled to the Eastern Shore. They parked in the Candy Kitchen lot across the street from the courthouse, and members of the caucus set up a tent with donuts and coffee.
When the court doors opened around 9 a.m., the protesters went into the courtroom, maxing the building to its capacity and forcing guards at the front of the building to limit who could enter the public building.
Only those with court dates were able to go inside at one point. Anyone else who wanted to enter the building had to wait for someone to exit.
Despite rainy conditions, Carl Snowden and Rev. James Jones of the caucus erected a pop-up tent outside of the courthouse doors with a podium and speaker in preparation of a news conference. The conference was expected to begin at 10 a.m., though by noon it still had not taken place.
A short time later, at about noon, a woman came out to say she was not sure how much longer it would be until the news conference started, adding that the court proceedings were getting heated and video of the incidents were playing inside.
According to a letter from a city records supervisor written in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a Washington Post staff writer, a Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the June 12 incident, and a similar incident along the Boardwalk on June 6, concluded that no federal civil rights violations were committed and “after a multi-level review” the matter was closed.
The letter said that neither the town nor the department had the FBI inquiry records and no further information was provided.