A video featuring a man getting off his bicycle to assault a child attempting to post protest flyers in the name of George Floyd and then shoving a teen who was filming to the ground with his bike went viral on Twitter. The incident took place in the Capital Crescent Trail on June 1 near the Dalecarlia Tunnel in Bethesda, according to Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
On Friday, Anthony Brennan III of Kensington was arrested, according to the Park Police report. He’s being charged with three counts of 2nd-degree assault.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 6, 2020
According to WUSA 9, authorities made contact with Brennan, 60, and his legal counsel early on Friday. Police searched his home with members of the State Attorney’s Office and Park Police present. After finding substantial evidence in Brennan’s home, police issued an arrest warrant. However, the suspect voluntarily turned himself to the authorities.
Video of the Assualt Has Been Viewed Nearly 30 Million Times
They were putting up signs to commemorate the death of George Floyd. He wasn't having it. pic.twitter.com/eukrXrxoLN
— Victor Stoddard (@VicStoddard) June 4, 2020
In the video, you can hear those accompanying the child yelling, “Leave her alone” and “Do not touch her! She has nothing! Get off of her!” But the bicyclist, with a flyer in his left hand, approaches the young girl and forcibly rips another flyer from her hand.
While the teen taking video of the altercation tells the biker to “get out of here,” Brennan then grabs his bike and rushes toward him until the videographer falls into the bushes.
A Bethesda Man Named Peter Weinberg Is Not the Biker in the Video & Police Excluded Him as a Suspect
I recently learned I have been misidentified in connection with a deeply disturbing attack. Please know this was not me. I have been in touch with the authorities and will continue to help any way possible.
— Peter Weinberg (@pweinberg) June 5, 2020
After the disturbing video went viral, thousands of people on Twitter believed that the man on the bicycle was Bethesda native, Peter Weinberg. Users online flooded the social media site by posting this man’s previous bike rides via Strava which showed he biked the Crescent Trail on May 31 and June 2. However, as police noted, the incident took place on June 1.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say. That nose doesn't match well and niether does his upper lip…
Peter Weinberg might not be the Bethesda Bike Bastard.
— Slippery People🧢🌹🔥 (@ChrisGraves1337) June 5, 2020
Users online even tweeted out to Weinberg’s boss at Pro Shares, where he works as a Senior Director of Marketing according to his LinkedIn account.
— Peter Weinberg (@pweinberg) June 5, 2020
For further proof, Weinberg shared the police report which excluded him as a suspect, and tweeted an additional phone for people to report tips to authorities: “I’ve been told you can reach out to Park Police Captain Coe @ (301) 949-8010 to confirm the police report.”
The Teen Who Posted the Video Said Brennan Shoved Him to the Ground & Injured His Leg
The teen posted the video on his Reddit account and asked for people to help identify the man.
The group of people who posted this video on social media told ABC 7 that they were putting up flyers the read, “Killer Cops Will Not Go Free – Text ‘Floyd to 55156.'”
On Reddit, the teen who filmed the incident wrote:
Everyone keeps saying what came before this but I have no video of that and it’s maybe 5 seconds of interaction. He cycled past us as we were putting up signs, stopped, asked to see my signs (in a friendly tone, I thought he was just interested) then as soon as I showed him them he ripped them out of my hands and started to go after my friends, which is when I started recording. I don’t think he’s grabbing the water bottle, he took the tape off of the wrist of my friend.
The teen said the cyclist injured his calf. He posted a photo showing a gash on his leg. He wrote on Reddit, “he rammed his bike into me and tried to pin me to the ground with it.”
Police Have a ‘Strong Suspect’According to Marlyand AG Brian Frosh
Meanwhile in Bethesda MD, a wealthy enclave outside DC…a man assaults a child for putting up anti-racist signs. The park police are now looking for him. https://t.co/wZMguHtIbz
— Lulu Garcia-Navarro (@lourdesgnavarro) June 4, 2020
The video continued to rack up views while the term “Bethesda, MD” started trending on Twitter. Users online are looking for help in identifying the violent biker from Bethesda, which is located six miles outside of Washington, D.C., just northwest of the nation’s capital.
Attorney Star Jones tweeted, “Twitter please find out his name. My family lives in Maryland & Lord knows if he had pulled this on my sister & her child, she would be wearing an orange suit & he’d be dead.”
Another concerned Twitter member wrote, “This disgusting CREEP in Bethesda, MD had the audacity to assault a little girl who was putting up George Floyd signs. PLEASE help identify this a**hole. Twitter, do your thing.”
If anyone can identify this man, please let me know (410-576-6300) and contact Montgomery County States Attorney John McCarthy. https://t.co/Y2pO51MHJD
— Brian Frosh (@BrianFrosh) June 4, 2020
Since the video started going viral on Thursday, it has amassed nearly 1 million views. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh also tweeted out that he was looking to identify the cyclist. On Friday, Frosh tweeted, “UPDATE: Thanks for the great response. Park Police have a strong suspect as a result. But, please don’t name individuals & risk harm to innocent people. Please share further info with Det. Lopez.”
The Looting Amid George Floyd Protests Has Caused Numerous Locals Businesses to Board Up
— Snowball Monkey (@SnowballMonkee) June 2, 2020
Video and photos shared on social media show that there have been numerous peaceful protests in Bethesda since the death of George Floyd. Montgomery Councilmember Will Jawando, who was in attendance at multiple rallies throughout the area told FOX 5 on Wednesday, ”People are literally dying as a result of racism whether it’s a knee on the neck, in the case of George Floyd. Whether it’s someone not getting treatment in a hospital. Whether it’s being hit by a bus because your community doesn’t have sidewalks. This racism is embedded in every system, in every structure.”
However, the D.C. suburb, like many other major cities across America, has not been immune to attacks of looters.
Aveda Salon & Spa placed a handful of fliers on its boarded-up storefront. They read, "We support George Floyd. #Justice."
Last night, Montgomery County Police had a strong presence in Downtown Bethesda, just in case looters decided to strike. pic.twitter.com/1rHADQVUqV
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) June 4, 2020
On June 1, ABC 7 reporter Kevin Lewis tweeted, “Multiple suspects broke into the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. It happened around 11p. Police quickly responded to the burglary call. The suspects, however, fled before officers arrived. This comes one night after looters targeted stores in Friendship Heights.”