OCEAN CITY — Despite conflicting reports about the melee on the beach at N. Division Street last Sunday afternoon that resulted in three men being arrested on assault charges and a pregnant woman being wrestled to the ground, Ocean City police officials this week are standing by the actions of the officers involved.
Around 2:30 p.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police responded to a reported group of disorderly males. The request for assistance came from an Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguard, who told police he approached the group to speak with them, at which time he was threatened.
When OCPD officers attempted to speak with the suspect, identified as Abdul Kargbo, 25, of Woodbridge, Va., he began cursing and yelling at the officers and attempted to leave the scene. As officers attempted to arrest Kargbo, several other members in the disorderly group began to yell at police and act in a threatening manner, according to police reports.
What happened next, according to the police report and according to a witness on the beach, was a pushing and shoving match between the suspects and police, including punches thrown, as officers attempted to detain the combatants. By that time, a large crowd had gathered causing additional officers to respond to the scene.
Two other suspects, Musa Seisay, 24, of Garrisonville, Md., and Saidu Kargbo, 21, of Woodbridge, Va., allegedly assaulted officers and resisted arrest. A fourth individual, later identified as Dalima Palmer, 24, of Dumfries, Va., who was nine months pregnant at the time, was also involved in the fray and verbally and physically abused the arresting officers, according to police.
During the struggle, Palmer was wrestled to the beach by OCPD officers and an attempt was made to handcuff her. When the dust settled, Abdul Kargbo was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Saidu Kargbo and Seisay were each charged with resisting arrest, second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing and hindering a police officer.
Palmer was also taken into custody and was transported for processing. According to police spokeswoman Lindsay O’Neal, during processing on charges of assault and reckless endangerment, Palmer began to experience labor pains and was transported to the hospital where she had an emergency C-section.
Palmer’s charging process was halted when it became apparent she needed to be taken to a hospital, but she will faces charges at a later date.
“She hasn’t been formally charged,” she said. “While she was in our custody, she started feeling labor pains and we released her to the hospital. At that point, we had to drop her charging process. She will be formally charged with assault and other misdemeanors at a later date.”
Two days after the incident, the suspects’ family and friends told a Washington, D.C. television news station the OCPD account of the incident was false and that the group was not being disruptive on the beach. The suspects’ relatives instead claimed the incident was veiled in hints of profiling and racism.
The suspects’ relatives provided the TV station with a now well-publicized cellphone video of a portion of the incident that clearly shows it escalating from a shouting match between the defendants and police to a physical confrontation with the pregnant Palmer in the middle of the fray. O’Neal said the circumstances involving Palmer being taken to the ground on the beach by an officer attempting to handcuff her were unfortunate, but she said the department is standing by the actions of officers involved.
“It’s very unfortunate the way the circumstances happened, but at this time we’re standing by the actions of our officers,” she said. “What we’re saying is, a video shows a very small portion of a much larger 360-degree views and not all of the actions that took place are depicted in it.”
The OCPD took several witness reports on the beach and all have been consistent.
“We will review any and all video we receive, and if it’s deemed necessary, an internal investigation will take place,” she said. “Thus far, we haven’t received any formal complaints. In addition, numerous witness statements taken after the incident have corroborated the actions taken by our officers.”
One reliable source on the beach close to the situation corroborated the official OCPD position.