Man, 25, Pushes Park Ranger Into Lake After He Tells Them To Practice Social Distancing
A man was arrested after he pushed a park ranger into a lake while the ranger was explaining to a group about social distancing.
A video emerged on social media last week showing the ranger speaking to a large group who were illegally smoking and drinking in Commons Ford Metropolitan Park, Austin, court documents stated.
However, just moments after approaching the group, 25-year-old Brandon Hicks can then be seen grabbing hold of the ranger's uniform and throwing him into the lake.
The ranger manages to get out of the water before heading off after Hicks, who was later arrested. The park was closed due to overcrowding.
According to an affidavit seen by Fox7, Hicks was charged with attempted assault on a public servant - a state felony - and damaging the ranger's emergency radio. His bond on Friday (1 May) was set at $7,500 (£6,000).
The document stated: "Brandon's intentional and reckless action could have caused the Ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling, and render himself unconscious in at least three-feet of water where he could have drowned to death."
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The person who shot the video told police in a report that they were glad Hicks was arrested and that the ranger was being calm and polite.
The witness told KXAN: "The park ranger was actually being really sweet and understanding before."
Police also stated that members of the group were concerned for the ranger's safety.
In a statement released by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, officials commended the work being carried out by their rangers.
It said: "The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is saddened by the action taken against our Park Ranger. City of Austin Parks Rangers are essential workers who've been on the front-line of the City's response to Covid-19.
"They continue to work long hours educating the public on the various operational changes at parks and other PARD facilities. Rangers are not law enforcement officers.
"The Ranger program was created to provide educational services, safety, and security in Austin's parks and recreational facilities. Through these actions, Rangers help protect and foster stewardship of the natural world."
Kimberly McNeeley, Austin Parks & Recreation Department Director, added: "Our Rangers continue to engage residents on the proper use of park facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We ask that the public treat Rangers with the same respect they wish to be shown to themselves. Public support is essential for Austin to meet the challenges of this pandemic."
Featured Image Credit: Reddit