NEW YORK — A good Samaritan used his jiu-jitsu training in coming to the rescue of a mother who was struggling to stop a perpetrator from snatching her baby from a stroller in a New York City park.
Cellphone video shows Brian Kemsley putting the suspect in a ground-level control hold during the thwarted kidnapping in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park seven days ago. No one was injured during the encounter. Kemsley said the man appeared to have mental health issues, PIX11 News reported.
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) November 14, 2020
The physically fit Kemsley, 33, said it all started when he heard a woman screaming as he was sitting on a bench in the park.
When he looked up he saw a man trying to take a baby in a stroller from the baby’s mother, who was desperately holding onto the stroller along with a 4-year-old child in her arms. There were a couple of people trying to stop the person but he was refusing to release the stroller, according to reports.
Kemsley told WPIX-TV the man was shouting “How do you know this is her baby? Why are you helping her? This could be my baby.”
Cellphone video captured what happened next, showing Kemsley grabbing the man from behind, wrestling him to the ground and then securing him there.
“Here’s the thing, I don’t enjoy jujitsu, I don’t think training is particularly fun, but I have a lot of respect for it as it is absolutely essential in a street fight and self-defense,” he said in an Instagram post about the incident.
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He said the woman left the park with the baby and the other child but came back to thank him for intervening.
“I’m happy she did that,” he said.
Kemsley said he has fought professionally in Muay Thai bouts.
The NYPD responded to a report of an emotionally disturbed person in the park around 3:24 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.
“The individual was taken into custody and transported to Bellevue hospital for psychological evaluation,” a department spokesman said.
Kemsley said he didn’t think twice about helping the woman. He told Fox News Monday he kept the man on the ground for about 15 minutes, until park security arrived and place him in handcuffs.
“It’s not a matter of stepping in, it’s a matter of duty, when you see a woman and her child screaming,” he told WPIX.