Police on Friday arrested a Maryland man on charges connected to an attack on a group of young adults posting flyers on a bike trail about protests related to George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Anthony Brennan III, a 60-year-old white man from Kensington, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault for the attack on a young man and two young women early Monday afternoon along a bike trail in Bethesda, Maryland, close to the Washington, D.C. border.
Also on Friday, the branding company Made to Order, which Brennan worked for according to information online, said that it fired an employee "for completely unacceptable behavior toward peaceful demonstrators."
Brennan's arrest came after the Maryland-Capital National Park Police received hundreds of tips about possible suspects on the heels of the release on social media of a dramatic video that captured an enraged bicyclist who ripped the flyers out of the hands of the three people who were posting flyers on the Capital Crescent Bike Trail.
Police said that detectives "utilized various sources" to corroborate tips before Brennan became their primary suspect. At least two other men were incorrectly identified as the assailant, and police put out statements earlier Friday pointing that out.
Hunter Walker, a Yahoo News reporter who covers the White House, tweeted that he had provided Brennan's name to police after receiving a tip about him. Walker mentioned in his tweet that Brennan had an account on the Strava app, which is used by bicyclists and runners to share their routes and details about how long their rides or runs took with other users.
Investigators contacted Brennan and his lawyer Friday.
"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," police said in a statement.
"A subsequent arrest warrant was obtained and served on Mr. Brennan this evening after he voluntarily turned himself into detectives."
In the video, the bicyclist is seen holding the group's flyers, and then violently grabbing the arm of a small 19-year-old woman among them and wrenching what appeared to be blue straps used for hanging up the flyers off of her wrist.
As he does so, a female companion of the woman frantically yells, "Do not touch her!"
The cyclist is then seen on the video angrily walking over to his bike when "he sees me recording him and sees the fact that I recorded him as he was doing that, and he grabs his bike and he runs it into me and pins me to the ground," a man who was with the two women told NBC 4 Washington.
"He pretty much screamed at us. 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," the man, who requested anonymity, told the television station.
Brennan's attorneys, Andrew Jezic and David Moyse, said that he "recognizes that his outrageous behavior toward the young adult victims on the Crescent Trail was unacceptable and wrong" and the "outrage felt in our community and across our country is completely justified."
"Unfortunately, several innocent people were also victimized by having been erroneously identified online, and their reputations were tarnished," the attorneys said.
Brennan, in a statement provided by his lawyers, said: "I am sick with remorse for the pain and fear I caused the victims on the trail, and online."
"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 said.
He added that he was "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."
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh earlier Friday tweeted that Maryland-National Capital Park Police "have a strong suspect as a result" of members of the public viewing the video.
But Frosh cautioned in his tweet, "please don't name individuals & risk harm to innocent people."
The Montgomery County (MD) Police Department noted in a tweet that one of the people incorrectly identified on social media as the bicyclist is a former member of the department.
Four now-former Minneapolis police officers have been charged in connection with Floyd's death, which occurred on May 25 after one of the cops, Derek Chauvin, knelt on the 46-year-old's neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest on suspicion of using counterfeit currency. Floyd repeatedly said, "I can't breathe" as he was restrained by police.
Chauvin, 44, is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as with second-degree manslaughter.
The other three officers, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, Thomas Lane, 37, and 34-year-old Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four officers were fired a day after Floyd's arrest, when a video of it was widely circulated. The incident has led to nearly two weeks of protests against police brutality in cities nationwide.