When a kidnapping attempt occurred at Madison Square Park, a good Samaritan used martial arts to thwart it.
Around 3 p.m. on November 9, 2020, Brian Kemsley was in the ideal situation to stop the crime.
“I saw this man playing tug of war with a baby stroller, telling everyone it was his baby,” Kemsley said.
While watching as others attempted to remove the man from the stroller, Kemsley, who was in the park with his girlfriend, stood back.
“Once they peeled his hands off the stroller, the mom could make a break for it with the stroller… it was then that I thought ‘oh this is not going to go well right now,'” Kemsley said.
Kemsley can be seen using a rear naked choke, a jiu jitsu maneuver, in a cellphone video.
“I used that to get him down and transitioned to a seatbelt grip, I wrapped my legs around him,” Kemsley said.
Kemsley is a trained combatant. His speciality is Muay Thai, but he only wanted to subdue the guy and didn’t want to hurt him.
“The priority should always be to de-escalate a situation, it should always be to keep everyone safe,” Kemsley said. “Not just to hurt people.”
The man was detained by park police after around nine minutes and afterwards taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychological assessment.
“There was a point I felt when I was holding onto him it wasn’t just to keep him away from the mom and baby, it was to help him too,” Kemsley said.
The mother came back to the scene to express her gratitude to Kemsley, who said that he did what any New Yorker would have done.