WATCH: NYC cop puts skateboarder in banned chokehold and blasts him with pepper spray
A New York City police officer has been accused of using a banned chokehold to take down a skateboarder during an arrest captured on video.
Yibin Mu, of Queens, posted the video Monday on YouTube showing the officer grab and throw him to the ground during the incident about 5 p.m. Sunday in Columbus Circle, where skateboarding is prohibited, reported Gothamist.
“Without warning, the police officer used one hand to grab my forearm and the other hand to grab the back of my neck,” Mu explained in the YouTube post. “He then put me in a chokehold and this is what happened next. I was non-aggressive the entire time.”
Mu posted video of the arrest on his Facebook page, captioned: “When police brutality finally happens to you.”
Police confirmed that the 22-year-old Mu had been arrested for skateboarding despite six signs warning that the activity was not allowed — although Mu claims he never saw those.
A spokesman for the New York City Police Department said the officer asked Mu to sit down so he could write a summons, but the police report shows the skateboarder refused to do so and ignored the officer.
“The officer informed him that he was placing him under arrest, and attempted to take him into custody, and the defendant fought with the officer,” said the spokesman, Detective Brian Sessa.
The video begins with the officer’s arm around the back of Mu’s neck as he wrestles the skateboarder to the ground.
“I was just skating around, killing some time,” Mu told DNA Info. “I saw this police officer approaching. I got off my board to ask him [if I could skate] and the first thing he did was reach for my board,” he said. “My first reaction was, ‘Whoa, what is he doing?'”
He throws Mu down, and both men go sprawling to the ground as the officer loses his grip on the younger man.
The officer quickly climbs on top of Mu and places his left hand around the man’s neck as he tries to wrestle the skateboard away with him right hand.
At this point, Mu stops struggling and is lying face-down with the officer straddling his back and gripping the younger man’s neck with one hand.
He then switches hands to grip Mu’s neck with his right hand and reaching with his left hand for pepper spray, which he blasts into the skateboarder’s face as onlookers beg him to stop.
The officer maintains his grip on Mu’s neck as he returns the pepper spray to his duty belt, and he tightens his grip as the skateboarder asks what he had done wrong.
The use of chokeholds is generally prohibited by NYPD’s patrol guide, and elected officials have sought to make them illegal after the chokehold death of Eric Garner last year in Staten Island.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton opposes the City Council legislation, saying that police should be allowed to self-evaluate all uses of force on a case-by-case basis.
The officer keeps his hand on Mu’s neck for just short of two minutes during the video recorded arrest, although the skateboarder has stopped struggling by that point as the officer straddles his back and pins him to the ground.
Mu rubs his pepper-sprayed face with his left hand as the officer places his right wrist in handcuffs, and he’s eventually cuffed and lifted to the ground before the video cuts off.
The skateboarder, who moved to the U.S. from China at age 6, was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, failure to comply with a posted sign and defacing park property.
“I’m taking a lot of sociology classes and urban studies classes, and I’m learning how there’s a lot of inequality in America,” said Mu, a sophomore at Queens College. “I’m thinking, ‘This is it. This is how I become marginalized.'”
Watch video of the arrest posted online by Yibin Mu: