A viral video making the rounds shows a young man pushing a park ranger into the water in Austin, Texas. The park ranger was trying to tell crowds to maintain six feet of social distance due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by The Statesman. The man who shoved the ranger was later arrested.
The video was recorded at Commons Ford Metropolitan Park on Thursday, showed many people clustered around the edge of Lake Austin. The ranger, the man who pushed him and the person recording were all in a group that was out on a pier, which allowed the ranger to be pushed out into waist-deep water. Austin police officer Justin Berry said that he believes he arrested the man who pushed the ranger. He said that the public should understand that park rangers — and anyone else trying to enforce social distancing — "are out there, doing their jobs."
austin texas everybody 😬 pic.twitter.com/MXTzvtexeN— julia (@lost808s) May 1, 2020
"We just want to remind people to please be respectful and mindful that they're working to make our parks a welcoming environment to everyone... Everyone's been going to the parks, so the parks have been completely overcrowded," Berry said.
Berry arrested 25-year-old Brandon Hicks, believing he is the man in the video who pushed the park ranger. The ranger approached Hicks and his friends out on the pier initially because they were illegally smoking and drinking there, according to an arrest affidavit. The whole encounter took place at around 5 p.m. local time.
According to Berry, police temporarily closed Commons Ford Metropolitan Park after the incident, mostly due to the overcrowding there. The rest of the crowds left without any issue.
Hicks was charged with attempted assault on a public servant — a state jail felony. He was booked into the Travis County Jail with a $7,500 bail. He could be facing up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. The affidavit notes that Hicks could have easily "caused the ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling."
The video has inspired some lively discussions online, where it has gone viral from Instagram to Twitter to Reddit. Many commenters have noted the sarcastic tones of the group addressing the ranger despite his reasonable request for them to stay six feet apart. Others have poked fun at the ranger, wondering why he was not wearing a mask while advising other people to take social distancing more seriously. Here is what social media is saying about the now-viral video.
Ghetto thug has no respect for authority. Why do they act like that? pic.twitter.com/H3LQoerukz— Michael B. Pippen (@Trebstar718) May 2, 2020
i know 💀💀— julia (@lost808s) May 1, 2020
the same kids went today again💀💀— julia (@lost808s) May 2, 2020
Texas park ranger pushed into water after reminding crowd about social distancing.— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 2, 2020
A man was arrested on suspicion of assault on a public servant in the incident at an Austin park: @NBCNews.https://t.co/ndNeeKMzRk pic.twitter.com/ROkUqp3qhq
That 25 year old who pushed the soft spoken park ranger into a lake for doing his job (at a park he's probably way more invested in than any of those assholes breaking social distancing) is being charged with felony attempted assault pic.twitter.com/B6EwjCMSYl— Bored man gets naps (@lsdroehl) May 2, 2020
how embarrassing to be anyone out there knowingly breaking the rules and how pathetic of a person is the guy who pushed the park ranger https://t.co/YyBSlLECCU— lobster harmonica (@biggestboot) May 1, 2020
Park Ranger's Phone
The guy got arrested! And the park ranger got his phone destroyed ☹️he’s a really sweet guy who didn’t deserve that at all— Hannah Nana Banana (@Hannahkerns) May 1, 2020
On Behalf of Texas
I think i speak for texas on this one and i’d like to say WE don’t claim the bum that pushed the park ranger in. https://t.co/qyBXQwhIGN— Baldemar (@baldy___) May 3, 2020