A week after the release of a video of a Black man with special needs being assaulted went viral, the streets of Milwaukee were the scenes of several demonstrations aimed at bringing justice to the victim. Community stakeholders protested the incident, asking first why the aggressor targeted the victim, and now wanting answers regarding what will happen next.
Throughout the week, Vaun Mayes led multiple protests and was joined by the members of the Milwaukee Black Panthers and other Black Lives Matter activists to bring attention to the Monday, Oct. 10, incident, where a larger white man was videoed choking a much smaller Black man.
According to police, the other man in the video is 62 years old and the victim is 24.
Mayes said he gathered the community to convene at the front of a house they believed to be the man’s (based on comments he made in the video) at 2143 S. 25th Street in the Southside of Milwaukee in protest of his actions, calling the aggressor “dangerous.”
“That is a dangerous person,” Mayes said. “Stuff like that is happening all over the country; people playing vigilante. We saw what happened with Ahmaud [Aubery] and all these different cases and we definitely don’t want that type of stuff happening here in Milwaukee.”
One of the reasons why the aggressor’s actions are dangerous, according to Mayes, is because it could have ended like so many other Black people in America’s ugliest past.
“These situations have historically ended badly for Black people,” Mayes wrote on social media last week
The assault was captured by Deangelo Wright, who was driving by when he saw the assault and said he felt compelled to step in and help the victim, according to FOX 6.
“I hurried up and got out my car and intervened as quick as possible to kind of figure out what was going on,” said Wright.
His best modality of defense, the man seemingly thought, was to protect the young man by recording the altercation.
Wright whipped out his cellphone and started taping.
He later says, “I’m recording. Let go of his neck. He’s not going anywhere.”
However, the bearded man, dressed in a plaid shirt, would not release him, holding the bike in between his legs. The man said, “Go ‘head! He stole a bike right out of a friend of mine’s yard.”
The man’s story shifted slightly as the video progressed, with him saying, “This kid over here, one of his friends stole a bike right out of a friend of mine’s yard.”
After a while, Wright pushes the man’s hand off the smaller man’s neck. Once freed, the young man, dressed in a blue Adidas jacket and clearly afraid, stammered as he said, “I didn’t even touch it. For real, I didn’t touch it. I swear on God.”
The man continued to detain the victim, despite saying the bike he was looking for was green and the bicycle the victim had was blue.
Wright said to WISN, at first, he thought the victim was a child.
Just looking at it, it just looked like he was choking a kid. It was sad and very upsetting,” Wright said. “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.”
FOX 6 video shows the local Black Panther party marching down the street with Darryl Farmer, the chapter’s towering president leading the way. Farmer led a similar action weeks ago against an Asian restaurant manager who assaulted a Black woman.
In the action over the weekend, he and other members, dressed in all Black with their classic Black Power logo on their jackets, shouted, “No Justice, No Peace!”
According to the Randy Report, activists in the area are calling for criminal charges to be filed against the man. While many on the internet have identified the man, the police have not released his name.
The victim in the video is the nephew of Ricky Hale, who spoke with FOX 6 and said his nephew has special needs and that the man grabbed him without asking questions.
“Why would you come out in the middle of the street and choke?” Hale asked. “You don’t know if that’s a kid or not. You don’t even know his age.”
Adding, “He’s just a person that has a disability that he didn’t deserve that, and he never said he stole the bike.”
The Milwaukee Police Department nor the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office have released any statements about the incident or indicated whether the man will face criminal charges.