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Social media threats in wake of Capital Crescent trail incident

Councilmember calls on "Twitter detectives" to stop threats as police say accusations against a former officer are false

BETHESDA, Md. — UPDATE:  Anthony Brennan III, 60, was arrested by Maryland-National Capital Park Police-Montgomery County Division Friday evening. He's charged with three counts of second-degree assault. 

Original story

Outrage over a caught-on-video attack by an adult man against teens posting flyers commemorating George Floyd has resulted in a flood of online threats by social media users claiming to have identified suspects.

A video posted online to Reddit shows a bicyclist wearing sunglasses, an orange helmet, and a gray shirt pick up a bike and run toward the male who is filming.

The Maryland-National Capital Park Police tweeted they were seeking the assault suspect, with photos taken from the video.

Montgomery County police were forced to issue a statement saying accusations against a former officer were false.

RELATED: Park Police search for bicyclist who attacked group hanging racial justice flyers in Bethesda

In another, an accused individual posted what appeared to be a police document ruling him out as a suspect.

A representative for the man's employer said he had been falsely accused and  "absolutely had nothing to do with this."

Montgomery Park police have not made any arrests in the case.

"Twitter can be a very dangerous place," Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando said. "I would caution people not to jump to conclusions and let police do their work. Hate begets hate." 

The attack happened Monday on the Capital Crescent trail, according to the Maryland-National Capital Park Police Montgomery division which issued an alert asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect.

The cyclist can be seen assaulting an adolescent girl as he attempts to tear items out of her hands. He then grabs his bike and pins the person shooting the video to the ground.

Jawando said the apparent false accusations do not diminish the gravity of what occurred.

"I think you see both the problems and the solution of racism in that video," Jawando said.  "I think you see young people trying to post flyers and memorialize George Floyd in hopes we can move past systemic racism and do the work we need to dismantle it. And then you have someone who's so angry at what they are doing that he lashes out and puts his hands on children."

"It shows we have a lot of work to do even here in Montgomery County," Jawando said.

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