In another example of smartphone-wielding civilians providing evidence of what could be law-enforcement’s inappropriate use of force, a video surfaced yesterday showing an altercation in Columbus Circle where an NYPD officer seems to use a banned chokehold to subdue 22-year-old Queens College student Yibin Mu for skateboarding illegally.
The NYPD banned chokeholds more than 20 years ago, though one was used on Eric Garner, who died in police custody in 2014.
The video from late Sunday begins with the unnamed officer’s arms around Mu’s neck in an attempt to wrestle him to the ground. Once on the ground, Mu is pepper-sprayed and cuffed while he asks the officer what he did wrong.
“I was just skating around, killing some time. 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,” Mu said, describing the beginning of the incident. There are, according to the police, six signs alerting potential skaters that it is illegal to skateboard there.
A police spokesperson told Gothamist that Mu “refused to sit down and ignored” the police officer.
On the video, a passerby was recording observing, “Here we go again.”
Mu spent Sunday night in jail and was charged with resisting arrest, disobeying park rules, and defacing park property.
Mu is a sophomore at Queens College and lives with his family, who moved to New York City from China when he was 6. According to a report from DNAinfo, he is currently looking for a lawyer to represent him.