Disturbing cellphone video captures a white man grabbing a black man by the throat in Milwaukee after an alleged theft of a bicycle — with the viral clip sparking outrage online and in the community.
The incident occurred about 4:40 p.m. Oct. 10 along South 25th Street, where the 62-year-old white resident was recorded with his hand firmly around the 24-year-old’s neck, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“This kid over here, one of his friends stole a bike right out of a friend of mine’s yard,” the man says in the video, which was captured by passerby Deangelo Wright.
“Let go of his neck! He’s not going anywhere,” Wright is heard saying, telling the man that he is recording his actions.
He told Fox 6 News that he was driving by when he noticed the confrontation.
“I hurried up and got out my car and intervened as quick as possible to kind of figure out what was going on,” Wright told the station. “I got his hand off of his neck and was just trying to understand what was going on.”
Neither man has been identified by authorities, but the young man’s uncle, Ricky Hale, told Fox 6 that his nephew is disabled.
“Why would you come out in the middle of the street and choke? You don’t know if that’s a kid or not. You don’t even know his age,” the incensed uncle told the station.
“He’s just a person that has a disability that, he didn’t deserve that, and he never said he stole the bike,” Hale added, without specifying a disability.
The footage shows the accuser — who claimed that a green bike had been stolen — standing over a blue bike as the 24-year-old repeatedly denies stealing anything.
The incident sparked protests in the community, including one organized by community activist Vaun Mayes, who insisted that the older man “has to get charged,” the Journal Sentinel reported.
The activist said the incident reminded him of other cases where black men were killed by people trying to detain them, such as the Feb. 23, 2020, racially motivated murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, when three men thought he was fleeing a burglary in a mostly white neighborhood.
“It’s time that somebody send some type of message that this stuff won’t be tolerated,” Mayes told the paper. “If that guy hadn’t intervened, who knows how that would’ve turned out. I think the city and the police department need to take a strong stance on this.”
The Milwaukee Police Department told NPR that no injuries resulted from the incident, which remains under investigation.
On Monday, police said the matter would eventually be turned over to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office for review of any potential charges.
The Post has reached out to Milwaukee police for additional information.
Wright told WISN 12 News that he felt compelled to intervene.
“He 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,” he told the station.