The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office has officially charged the white man captured on video unlawfully detaining a Black man he claimed had stolen his friend’s bicycle in their Milwaukee, Wisconsin, neighborhood. While the young man eventually was proven to have a connection to the stolen bike, officials say the man had no right to detain him.
On Thursday, Oct. 27, a criminal complaint was filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court charging Robert Walczykowski with a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for grabbing and choking a 25-year-old Black man named Trevon Burks, whom he believed was stealing bikes on Oct. 10 out of his neighbors’ yard in the 2100 block of South 25th Street around 4:40 p.m., the Milwaukee Journal reports.
Originally, Burks, who has developmental delays and the “mental capacity of a 5-year-old,” was with other men when Walczykowski approached him about the theft near 25th and Becher. Those men escaped, leaving him trapped by the 62-year-old man, who said he was calling the police.
The criminal report states the man saw some “children” taking a bike from his neighbor’s yard. He told authorities, he called his neighbor and the neighbor urged him to call the police, FOX 6 Now states.
Deangelo Wright was driving by and noticed the older man with his hands around the young man’s throat. He then pulled out his cellphone to record the altercation, simultaneously petitioning for Walczykowski to leave Burks alone.
“Let go of his neck. He’s not going anywhere,” Wright says in the video. “I’m recording. Let go of his neck. He’s not going anywhere.”
Wright said, “I hurried up and got out my car and intervened as quick as possible to kind of figure out what was going on.” For him, the priority was to get the man’s “hand off of his neck” and attempt to “understand what was going on.”
The video went viral drawing national attention and community activists to storm the streets asking for justice.
In the video, the young man tries to explain his innocence and denies taking any property and Walczykowski eventually released him before authorities arrived on the scene.
Once the police arrived, one officer said, according to the criminal report, the older man should have never detained the 25-year-old, adding it could possibly lead to charges.
Burks, according to his relatives, was not injured during the incident and did not receive medical attention.
During a press conference this week, Burks’ mother Tracy said, “My son didn’t do anything wrong and, if I was to get justice, I would want him to pay for what he did.”
According to prosecutors, the mother told officers, “Some kids on his block asked him to come with them so he could get a bike.”
According to WISN, she continued, “That was very wrong for him to do that and he could’ve come at my son a different way. He didn’t have to choke my son. It was a hatred thing, what he did.”
However, days later, Burks’ mother Tracy alerted law enforcement that there were bikes on her property that appeared to “be stolen,” and she believes her son “possibly had something to do with it.”
A criminal complaint, filed on that day, says one officer came to the home to retrieve the bikes and placed them in inventory.
The young man spoke to the officers and the officers believe he told them his cousins had something to do with the bikes in his home. Because of his disability, the young man’s speech is sometimes difficult to understand.
Walczykowski was in court Wednesday, Nov. 2 for an initial appearance and pleaded not guilty. Should he be convicted of the crime, he could face either jail time or a fine. The fine would not exceed $1000 for the misdemeanor.
This content was originally published here.