VIDEO: Park Ranger Shoved Into Lake For Asking People To Social Distance
Austin, TX – Police arrested a man who shoved an Austin park ranger into a lake when he asked people gathered on a dock to practice social distancing (video below).
The incident occurred at about 5 p.m. on April 30 at Commons Ford Metropolitan Park when an Austin park ranger asked the crowd by the water to stay six feet apart from one another, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The arrest affidavit said 25-year-old Brandon Hicks approached the park ranger from behind and shoved him into Lake Austin.
A cell phone video of the incident was posted to Reddit on Thursday evening and showed the ranger was standing with his back to the water, talking calming to the group of people assembled and asking them to social distance.
Suddenly, Hicks entered the right side of the video screen and shoved the park ranger, hard.
The ranger, who was wearing an equipment pack on his back, tumbled backwards into the water but managed to quickly regain his footing.
His belt and whatever equipment was attached to it were submerged in the lake, the video showed.
The arrest affidavit said Hicks shoving the ranger could have “caused the ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling,” the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The video showed the man who pushed the ranger fell into the water with his unsuspecting victim.
Hicks quickly pulled himself back up onto the dock and fled on foot, the video showed.
The park ranger boosted himself out of the water a second later.
Austin park rangers are not law enforcement officers.
Austin police officers located and detained Hicks in the park shortly after the incident, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Austin Police Officer Justin Berry said that visitors to the park aren’t usually as aggressive as Hicks behaved with the park ranger who was just out there doing his job.
“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,” Officer Berry said. “Everyone’s been going to the parks, so the parks have been completely overcrowded.”
He said other visitors at the park came to the aid of the drenched park ranger after the incident, and multiple witnesses at the scene confirmed Hicks was the man who had pushed the ranger, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“Several people came up to the ranger and apologized for the guy’s behavior. That’s the Austin we know, and that’s the Austin we love,” the officer said.
Officers arrested Hicks and booked him into the Travis County Jail, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
He was charged with attempted assault on a public servant.
Online county records indicated on May 1 that Hicks was being held in the jail in lieu of $7,500 bail, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Watch video of the incident here below: