Police are looking for a cyclist who was caught on video gripping a young woman’s arm as he ripped a racial justice flyer out of her hand along a trail in Bethesda, Maryland. One of two other young people with her told News4 the man rammed him with his bike and pinned him to the ground.
One victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said he and others were posting flyers Monday morning in support of the George Floyd protests when they came across the cyclist on the Capital Crescent Trail near MacArthur Boulevard.
The video shows the cyclist with a flyer in his hand, confronting a woman. She puts her hand up to drive him away and shouts “Get away from me.”
Then, he turns to a second woman. Her back is to a fence and she's much shorter than him. The cyclist grips her forearm, which shakes as she tries to fight him off. The cyclist rips a flyer from her hand as the man and first woman scream at him.
“Do not touch her! Do not touch her, sir,” the first woman screams, her voice going hoarse. She comes to the second woman’s defense and pushes the cyclist away.
“Get off of her,” she screams, pointing her finger in his face.
Then, the cyclist walks away and grabs his bike. That’s when the man says the cyclist turned to him.
“He sees me recording him and sees the fact that I recorded him as he was doing that, and he grabs his bike and he runs it into me and pins me to the ground,” the man said.
The video shows the cyclist rushing toward the man. Then the camera drops.
“He pretty much screamed at us. He was saying, ‘F--- you. You guys [are] inciting riots.’ He kept saying we’re ‘deviants.’ I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that," the man said.
All three victims, including two 19-year-old women, are adults, the man said. Some viewers of the video said they thought the second woman was a child.
The man said he is part of a project that posts flyers in affluent neighborhoods to raise awareness about racial injustice.
Montgomery County Park Police are circulating photos of the cyclist and say they want to speak with him in reference to what they called an assault.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser both urged the public to help identify the cyclist to police.
At least one man has said on Twitter that internet sleuths falsely accused him of being the cyclist. Park Police gave a reminder late Thursday that "all people are innocent until proven otherwise." They encouraged members of the public to send tips to authorities.