Police in Maryland have identified and arrested a man who was caught on camera harassing teens who were putting up flyers about racial injustice.
Anthony Brennan III, a 60-year-old Kensington resident, was taken into custody and charged with three counts of second-degree assault, the Maryland-National Capital Park Police said in a statement. Brennan was arrested in relation to a violent incident that took place on the afternoon of June 1, which was captured on video and shared on social media.
Two young women and one young man were on the Capital Crescent Trail near the Dalecarlia Tunnel at around 12:45 p.m., posting flyers for a local protest, when they encountered Brennan, according to police. Brennan allegedly began arguing with them about the flyers, at one point grabbing the papers from the hands of one of the victims; he later used his bike to rush toward the young male, causing him to fall over, the report states.
The flyers were related to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes; they read, “A man was lynched by the police. What are you going to do about it?” local authorities told The New York Times.
The viral video shows Brennan, clad in cycling gear, approaching a young woman, as another woman off camera says, “She has nothing, sir. Do not touch her!” A man out of view of the camera says, “Leave her alone!” but Brennan can then be seen grabbing the woman’s wrist and yanking the papers away, before charging at the man holding the camera, who falls over.
Two of the victims were 18 and the other was 19, according to The Times.
Following the release of the video, internet sleuths tried to discover the identity of the cyclist, and local authorities took to social media to ask for tips. The Maryland-National Capital Park Police received hundreds of tips, and were eventually led to Brennan as a suspect, according to the release. They contacted Brennan and his legal representatives on Friday, and he consented to authorities searching his home. During that search, items of “evidentiary value” were recovered, and Brennan then turned himself in, police said.
Brennan was released from custody on Saturday after posting bond, according to USA Today.
He has since issued an apology for his “abhorrent behavior” in a statement released by his lawyers and obtained by The Times.
“I am sick with remorse for the pain and fear I caused the victims on the trail, and online,” that statement reads. “I am cooperating fully with authorities. I am committed to making amends by addressing, through counseling, the underlying issues that led to my abhorrent behavior.”
Brennan’s statement also addresses police brutality, according to USA Today.
“I am dedicated to working with the Montgomery County State Attorney’s Office to provide peace to our community and justice to the victims in the video, as well as to all victims of racism and police brutality,” he said.
His lawyers said that that Brennan “understands that his apology will not be enough to right his wrongs,” the outlet reports.
Following his arrest, Brennan was fired from his job at MadeToOrder, Inc., a Pleasanton, California marketing company, NBC Bay Area reports. A statement from the company refers to Brennan’s behavior as “disturbing” and “completely unacceptable.”
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