33-year-old uses martial arts to stop attempted kidnapping in Madison Square Park

Lauren Glassberg Image
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Man uses martial arts to thwart attempted kidnapping in NYC park
Lauren Glassberg has more on a professional fighter who used his martial arts expertise to stop an attempted kidnapping at Madison Square Park this month.

FLATIRON, Manhattan (WABC) -- A good Samaritan used martial arts to stop an attempted kidnapping at Madison Square Park this month.

Brian Kemsley, 33, was in the right place at the right time to interfere in the crime around 3 p.m. Nov. 9.

"I saw this man playing tug of war with a baby stroller, telling everyone it was his baby," Kemsley said.

He was in the park with his girlfriend and stood back as others tried to pry the man from the stroller.

"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.

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Cellphone video shows Kemsley use a jiu jitsu move called a rear naked choke.

"I used that to get him down and transitioned to a seatbelt grip, I wrapped my legs around him," Kemsley said.

Kemsley is a professional fighter. Muay Thai is his specialty, but he didn't want to hurt the suspect - just subdue 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."

After about nine minutes, park police handcuffed the man who was ultimately transported to Bellevue Hospital for a psychological evaluation.

"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 grateful mom returned to the scene to thank Kemsley who said he did what any New Yorker would have done.

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