The Maryland cyclist caught on video snatching Black Lives Matter flyers from teenagers' hands this week has been arrested and charged with assault. He turned out to be 60-year-old Anthony Brennan III, a Maryland native who is now facing three charges of second-degree assault. Brennan has apologized for his actions.
A video of Brennan berating young demonstrators was recorded on Monday and quickly went viral. In it, Brennan passed by three teenagers — a 19-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman and an 18-year-old woman — who were hanging flyers for "a call for community action" against police violence on a public walking path in Montgomery County. Hopping off his bicycle, Brennan grabbed the flyers, roughly grabbed one of the young women and made as if to hit the young man recording with his bike, causing him to fall to the ground. The video was watched over 29 million times on Twitter, and shared by prominent voices as well.
Police say they are looking for a cyclist seen on video assaulting and cursing at activists who were posting flyers along a trail in Bethesda, Maryland.June 5, 2020
"A man was lynched by the police. What are you going to do about it?" read the flyers that so incensed Brennan. Initially, viewers guessed that the man in the video might be a cop or a former cop himself. As social media tried to find the man's identity, one post incorrectly identified him as a retired police official. Brennan actually works for a branding company that distributes logos for promotional products, according to a report by The New York Times.
When Brennan was reliably identified, police reportedly contacted him and his lawyer on Friday, getting his permission to search his home. They seized evidence there, while Brennan turned himself in to detectives on Friday evening. Through his lawyer, he has since issued statements of apparently strong remorse for the assaults.
"I am sick with remorse for the pain and fear I caused the victims on the trail, and online," Brennan said. "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 also noted that he "understand that his apology will not be enough to right his wrongs." Each of the three assault charges carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Rescinding the rage that sparked his outburst in the first place, Brennan also claimed that he is "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."