Video of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin holding a young Black man by the throat to detain him for a “citizen’s arrest” has gone viral and sparked a local protest.
Local law enforcement are now investigating.
The 62-year-old White man—who has since been identified by police—was filmed holding the 24-year-old Black man by the throat while he spoke on the phone presumably to 911.
Video showed the younger man is about a foot shorter than the man clasping his throat and identified him as disabled.
Deangelo Wright was driving through the neighborhood, stopped and began recording as he tried to intervene.
Wright told WISN 12 News:
"He had one of the younger boys by the neck, like kind of strangling him, so I got out of the truck, and I approached him, and that's when I started recording him."
"Just looking at it, it just looked like he was choking a kid. It was sad and very upsetting."
"[The young man] was shaking. He didn't really know what was going on, like he was confused."
"I was telling everyone, God puts you in the situation for a reason, and I think that was for that young man's sake."
The White man first claimed the young man was responsible for stealing a bicycle from his neighbor 2 days prior, despite having no proof. He later said it was the young man's friend who stole a green bike.
"This kid over here, one of his friends stole a bike right out of a friend of mine's yard."
Neither the young man nor the two children he was riding through the neighborhood with were on green bikes.
The identities of both men are being withheld while the incident is being investigated.
You can view local news coverage of the incident below:
police investigating video of man grabbing another man by throatyoutu.be
Community activist Vaun Mayes organized a protest in response to the incident.
Mayes told WISN 12 News:
"I mean, we still have a race and segregation problem here. To grab someone by their throat, who he didn't even know if that kid was the kid that stole the bike allegedly or what was going on, but you immediately went to that level of violence."
"That has a racial component."
"That is a dangerous person."
"Stuff like that is happening all over the country; people playing vigilante."
"We saw what happened with Ahmaud Aubrey and all these different cases and we definitely don't want that type of stuff happening here in Milwaukee."
Others agreed the incident raised questions and concerns:
An initial statement by the Milwaukee Police Department said they were "aware of a video that has been circulating on social media sites. The individuals involved in the video have been identified."
In their original media statement police concluded:
"A 62-year-old Milwaukee man detained a 24-year-old Milwaukee man that was allegedly stealing a bicycle."
However the video contradicts the police account of what happened based on the older man's own words.
After public pressure police revised their assessment and decided to investigate further.
WISN 12 News consulted legal analyst and defense attorney Dan Adams, who said:
"Under Wisconsin law, there's something called false imprisonment, where if you confine or restrain another person without their consent, and without lawful authority, that's a felony behavior."
"Add to that also battery and disorderly conduct, and this individual has some issues."
Adams added if the older man tried to argue he was making a citizen's arrest, in his legal opinion, alleged neighbor's bike theft by a friend may not meet the threshold for that defense.