Police have identified and arrested the cyclist who allegedly assaulted two young women and a man in the United States as they tried to distribute flyers commemorating George Floyd.
Today detectives arrested Anthony Brennan, a 60-year-old man from Kensington in the state of Maryland, and charged him with three counts of second-degree assault.
“Over the past few days, community members have sent hundreds of tips to the Park Police,” Maryland-National Capital Park Police said.
“Detectives in the Investigative Section utilised various sources to further corroborate the information provided by the community before developing Mr Brennan as a primary suspect.
“Contact was made with Mr Brennan and his legal counsel earlier today. Consent was provided to search his home while members of the State’s Attorney’s Office and Park Police were present. Items of evidentiary value were seized.
“A subsequent arrest warrant was obtained and served on Mr Brennan this evening after he voluntarily turned himself in to detectives.”
The police thanked the public for “the abundance of tips and information” it provided as they sought to identify the cyclist.
They also said they appreciated “the courage and civic engagement” of the victims.
The confrontation in question happened on Monday, shortly after midday. Three young adults – two women in their late teens and one man – were walking on the Capital Crescent Trail and posting flyers with a call for justice in response to Mr Floyd’s death at the hands of police.
“A man was lynched by the police. What are you doing about it?” the flyers read.
The cyclist, now identified as Mr Brennan, started to argue with them about the posters. One of the women raised her hand to push him away.
“Get away from me,” she said.
He then turned to the second woman and grabbed her forearm, before forcibly taking the flyers from her hands.
“Do not touch her. Do not touch her, sir. Get off of her,” the first woman shouted at him, once again moving to push him away.
The cyclist then retrieved his bicycle and charged at the man, who was filming the incident, causing him to fall to the ground.
“What? Hey, what the f***?” the man said, before the camera stopped recording.
“He was just cycling down the trail,” the male victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Patch.
“He videoed us on his first pass by, then stopped about (15 metres) past us and asked to see my signs, in a friendly tone.
“When I went to show him the signs, he ripped them out of my hands and then started to go after my friends. That’s when I started recording.”
The man said he was scared for his friends because of the man’s size.
“My friends that I was with are both small women and to have a large man approach them and physically rip things out of their hands is quite terrifying, and they were both pretty shaken up after,” he said.
Speaking to NBC News, he said the cyclist had “pretty much screamed” at the group.
“He was saying, ‘F*** you. You guys (are) inciting riots.’ He kept saying we’re deviants. I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that,” he said.
Police posted photos of the cyclist online and asked the public for its assistance identifying him. Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also urged people to help.
Before Mr Brennan was arrested, internet sleuths wrongly accused multiple other people of being the culprit, including a former employee of the police department and a local marketing director.
Maryland Attorney-General Brian Frosh thanked the members of the public for their response but urged them not to name suspects online, and instead to contact detectives directly.
“Thanks for the great response. Park Police have a strong suspect as a result. But please don’t name individuals and risk harm to innocent people,” he said.