Last month, police in Ocean City, Md., tased, hog-tied and carried away a Black teenager for allegedly violating a vaping ban on the city’s boardwalk.
A video of the incident quickly went viral and drew immediate criticism for being yet another example of police use of force.
But what has not been discussed enough is the overcriminalization of tobacco products and the often racially disproportionate enforcement that contributes to ongoing hostility between police departments and Black and Brown communities.
The incident also highlights how even the most well-intended legislative proposals can have very different outcomes when enforced, and is particularly alarming as Maryland lawmakers are currently considering imposing a statewide ban on all flavored tobacco products.
And Maryland isn’t alone. This week, a divided Council sent a bill banning the sale of flavored tobacco and menthol cigarettes to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s desk.
Jillian Snider and Chelsea Boyd – The Crime Report – 2021-07-01.