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Man allegedly pushed park ranger into lake for trying to enforce social distancing

3 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, May 05 2020 May 5, 2020 May 05, 2020 11:38 AM May 05, 2020 in News
Source: ABC News
Photo: Austin Police Department

AUSTIN, TX - A man was arrested in Texas for allegedly shoving a park ranger into a lake after he instructed a crowd to follow social distancing guidelines.

The incident happened last Thursday at Commons Ford, a public park that is also home to Lake Austin. Video posted on social media showed the encounter between the ranger and a visitor.

In that video, the park ranger is seen standing near the edge of the lake, telling a crowd of people to stand six feet apart in order to abide by social distancing guidelines. Instead of listening, however, one man shoved the ranger into the lake and fell into the water himself.

The man, identified as 25-year-old Brandon Hicks, was booked on charges of attempted assault on a public service worker and damage of city property.

Austin's Parks and Recreation Department said it was "saddened" by the incident.

"Our rangers continue to engage residents on the proper use of park facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic," Kimberly McNeeley, Austin parks & recreation department director, said in a statement. "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."

The city of Austin's stay-home order is in effect through Friday. Under the city's order, anyone engaging in outdoor activities must maintain at least six feet of social distancing.

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