News footage from Milwaukee NBC affiliate station TMJ4 captured the moment when an impatient cyclist, fed up with being delayed, emptied out a bag that was suspected of being an explosive device. Moments after he emptied the bag, he was tackled to the ground by law enforcement officials. The incident occurred on May 21st when a suspicious backpack was reported to police at roughly 7 AM.
The backpack, which was first spotted on top of an electrical box on Wisconsin Avenue, prompted a response from the Milwaukee Police, the bomb squad, and the FBI. The section of the street was blocked off with police tape, as a member of the bomb unit inspected the mysterious backpack and moved it off of the electrical box and onto the ground as a precaution.
Shortly after the member of the bomb unit moved the bag to the ground, the video shows the impatient cyclist riding his bike toward the bag, having crossed the yellow police tape. He gets off of his bike and immediately begins emptying the contents of the bag, which appeared to include a water bottle, clothing, and other assorted items. According to a report from CBS Sacramento, the bag had not been opened before the cyclist approached it.
After dumping the contents out on the ground, the impatient cyclist appears to throw up his hands in frustration. Moments later, he is tackled to the ground by police officers and FBI agents. The tackling was also captured from higher vantage points by Ashley Flatland and Adam McNeill. According to CBS Sacramento, the man was treated for unknown injuries by paramedics before being arrested.
The impatient cyclist may not have had time for a bomb scare, but he did have time to make a pithy remark to a bystander. Robert Harris told TMJ4 the cyclist said “I’m going to defuse the situation” before riding toward the bag. “I thought for a moment there, he was going to get blown up,” Harris said, “Some water bottles came out and they were aluminum or stainless steel. You don’t know they were just water bottles. It could have been a bomb device there.”
Harris, who called the police about the suspicious backpack, also told TMJ4 that he was concerned about everyone’s safety, especially that of the cyclist. “I was concerned for everyone still around but really concerned for him. He was not acting in his right mind. If I would have saw him coming down the sidewalk earlier, I would have tried to stop him,” Harris said. “It’s a scary situation. You don’t know if it’s a bomb or a backpack. When he went and did it, I thought oh no. It’s not going to end well. It’s going to end badly.”
The Milwaukee Police have not yet released any further information about the incident. According to the Wisconsin State Legislature, “whoever knowingly resists or obstructs an officer while such officer is doing any act in an official capacity and with lawful authority is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.” The punishment for a class A misdemeanour, according to the State Legislature is “a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 9 months or both.” Bomb threats and scares are taken very seriously in the United States. According to the ATF Explosives Report for 2016, there were 6,061 suspicious or unattended package incidents reported that year. This showed a 27% increase from 2015.