KEY POINTS

  • Video showed a Texas park ranger being pushed into a lake while explaining social distancing rules during the pandemic
  • A 25-year-old man was arrested for the incident
  • Texas reopened non-essential services May 1 but still has a high number of confirmed cases

A video of a park ranger in Texas being pushed into a lake in the middle of explaining the need for social distancing in a park surfaced Friday, May 1.

A 25-year-old Austin, TX man was arrested for attempted assault on a public servant, who almost drowned under 3 feet of water.

According to a local NBC news affiliate, arrest records show that the ranger had been trying to disperse a crowd of people who were drinking and smoking unlawfully in the park.

The video showed that the unnamed ranger was talking about maintaining a six-feet distance between persons to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, when a man rushes and pushes him and sends them both into the water.

The suspect was recorded climbing out of the lake and running off. Police arrested a man named Brandon James Hicks with a matching record of the incident in the arrest record.

Arrest records also showed that Hick’s alleged assault could have sent the ranger unconscious while falling and may have resulted in his death by drowning.

Hick’s attorney told CNN in a statement that Hick was “embarrassed about his actions and has the utmost respect for law enforcement, particularly during these unprecedented times.”

In a statement, Austin parks and recreation department director Kimberly McNeely asked the public to treat park rangers with respect.

“Our rangers continue to engage residents on the proper use of park facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” McNeely said. “Public support is essential for Austin to meet the challenges of this pandemic.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot allowed some non-essential services to reopen at limited capacity on May 1, but advised in an order for people at or above the age of 65 to stay home unless necessary.

As of May 4, Texas has reported 32,332 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.