OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Police Department is defending its officers’ use of force after an incident last Sunday during which an alleged disorderly individual was dropped to the ground with a taser.
On Sunday, June 6, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were patrolling on the Boardwalk in the area of 18th Street when they observed a male, individual later identified as Taizier Griffin, 18, of Perryville, Md., walking with a crowd. OCPD officers observed Griffin place a vaping device up to his mouth and exhale into the air, according to police reports.
An OCPD officer stopped his bike in front of Griffin and informed him he was in violation of the town’s smoking ordinance on the Boardwalk. The officer extended his arm to stop Griffin and asked him for his identification, but Griffin reportedly failed to stop, pushed the officer’s arm out of the way and continued walking.
The officer got off of his patrol bike and grabbed the collar of Griffin’s shirt, but Griffin pulled away and got free of the officer’s grasp, according to police reports. Another OCPD officer grabbed Griffin in a bear hug and attempted to take him to the ground, but Griffin was able to pull away again and yelled in a loud voice he was going to kill the officers, according to police reports.
At that point, two OCPD officers drew their conducted electrical weapons (CEW), or tasers, and pointed them at Griffin. One of them deployed his CEW into Griffin and he fell to the ground. Officers handcuffed Griffin, but he continued to resist and was yelling loudly “your lives are over,” according to police reports.
Griffin was reportedly kicking his feet and attempting to roll over from his front to his back while he continued to yell at the officers. By now, a large crowd began to form on the Boardwalk to watch the scene unfold. An OCPD officer attempted to walk Griffin off the Boardwalk in order to remove the spectacle from the crowd.
At one point, the OCPD officer stepped awkwardly and fell onto a grassy area adjacent to the Boardwalk and Griffin fell on top of him, according to police reports. Griffin reportedly continued to yell at officers as the crowd watching the incident continued to grow. According to the police report, many of the onlookers were recording the incident with their cell phones.
Other OCPD officers arrived on the scene and assisted in subduing Griffin, who continued his verbal tirade and, at one point, spit a large wad of saliva at one of the officers, according to police reports. OCPD officers eventually applied a violent person restraining device on Griffin.
During a search of his bookbag incident to the arrest, OCPD officers located two bags of suspected marijuana, a grinder and a marijuana preparation tray. Also located in the bookbag was a large, fixed-blade kitchen knife. Griffin was charged with two counts of second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, failure to obey lawful orders, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, obstructing and hindering and carrying a concealed dangerous weapon.
A video of the incident, including Griffin getting tased and falling to the ground, circulated on social media, causing the OCPD to defend its use of force for the second time this week. OCPD Deputy Communications Manager Ashley Miller issued a statement on Monday.
“We understand the public’s concern over the video circulating of the disorderly crowd, which is currently being investigated by the Office of Professional Standards,” the statement reads. “While the use of force is never the intended outcome, our police department’s first priority is to protect and serve. They do not target based on race or age. They are focused only on keeping our residents and visitors safe by enforcing the law and diffusing situations as quickly as possible, while maintaining control over the environment.”