Skateboarder Yibin Mu is alleging police brutality after he was arrested at Columbus Circle. When asked why he was being taken into custody, Mu told a Facebook friend “It’s the end of the month. My guess is that he was super aggressive to meet quota.” The skateboarder also says that he was placed in a chokehold by the arresting officer.
You can watch the 22-year-old’s brutal apprehension above.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. One Witness to the Arrest Says ‘Here We Go Again’
During the video, an NYPD cop is shown to put his arms aggressively around Mu. Eventually, the officer gets the upper hand and forces Mu on to the ground. He then sits on him and pepper sprays the skateboarder. Audible on the clip is Mu asking “What did I do wrong? What’s my crime?” Meanwhile, a witness says “Here we go again.”
2. Chokeholds Are Supposedly Banned by the NYPD
In the comments section to the video on YouTube, Mu mentions that the cop put in him in a chokehold. It’s the policy of the New York Police Department not to implement chokeholds. The move has been put under scrutiny since the July 2014 killing of Eric Garner, who died as a result of a chokehold, compression of his chest, and poor health. He’d been suspected of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island when officers accosted him. Commissioner Bill Bratton told an NYPD hearing in June 2015 that “We evaluate all uses of force, including chokeholds…and while there is a general prohibition [on chokeholds], we take into account what the officer was facing at the time.”
3. Skateboarding Is Banned at Columbus Circle
Speaking to Gothamist, an NYPD spokesperson said that the officer in question was attempting to issue a ticket to Mu for skateboarding at Columbus Circle. There are more than five signs around that area banning boarding. In the Gothamist interview, the cop spox said that Mu was ignoring the officer and “refused to sit down.” A video from January 2014 on Mu’s YouTube channel shows him skateboarding at Columbus Circle.
4. Mu Says That He’s ‘Mildly Autistic’
According to his Facebook page, Mu is a native of Shanghai, China, but now lives in Queens. He goes by the name Sam and studied at Queens College. Under his political beliefs he writes “Freedom.” In the Facebook posting immediately after the video of his arrest, Mu posted a Vice piece on the shooting of Zachary Hammond in South Carolina. He quotes from the comments section, introducing it by writing “How civil people view America: ‘So we can shoot those tyres and leave the vehicle undrivable, or we can just blew someone’s teenage son head off… All of you defending the cop even though he murdered someone… I’m so fucking glad to live in Europe to have you crazy jackshits half a planet away.'” In a November 2014 posting, Mu wrote that he is “mildly autistic.”
5. He’s Becoming a Martyr on Social Media
His arrest has led to public outcry on Facebook where he became a trending conversation topic in the U.S. for a time. Meanwhile Twitter, users have been expressing their outrage at the brutality of his arrest. One person, Mary-Ann Greanier, wrote “Failure to comply with rollerblading/skating restrictions in NYC: $50 fine. NOT a chokehold, pepper spray & arrest.” Here are some of the best tweets about Mu’s arrest: