Cyclist pleads guilty to Capital Crescent Trail assault that went viral

Anthony Brennan III, seen in a viral video, was charged with three counts of assault and battery against three young people, who were posting flyers along the Capital Crescent Trail protesting the death of George Floyd. (Courtesy NBC Washington)

A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to assaulting three young adults who were posting Black Lives Matter posters along the Capital Crescent Trail earlier this year.

Anthony Brennan III, of Kensington, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of second-degree assault for the June 1 incident, which was captured in a viral video by one of the victims.

In a virtual hearing, Brennan admitted to grabbing flyers and a roll of blue painter’s tape from the arm of a 19-year-old woman, taunting the trio, and eventually charging his bicycle at an 18-year-old man, knocking him down as the victim videotaped the assaults.

“I’m truly sorry,” Brennan said as the three victims watched the teleconference before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Eric Johnson.

Immediately after his arrest in June, Brennan had apologized, saying, “I am sick with remorse for the pain and fear I caused the victims on the trail, and online.”

Montgomery County prosecutor George Simms said the trio of young people were posting Black Lives Matter flyers along the trail to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, sparking protests nationwide.

Simms said Brennan rode past the three, who were taping up posters. Brennan then circled back: “He got off his bike, and demanded they take down the Black Lives Matter signs.”

After grabbing the signs, Brennan followed the college students, who range in age from 18 to 20, taunting them.

Brennan will be sentenced Feb. 2. In the plea agreement, both sides will be able to argue for an appropriate sentence.

Each misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, although Brennan’s cooperation and prompt admission of guilt will work in his favor when a judge sentences him.

Though Wednesday’s plea hearing made no mention of why Brennan was so enraged, his attorneys, David Moyse and Andrew Jezic, said he has been working with counselors after his arrest.

“I am dedicated to working with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office to provide peace to our community and justice to the victims in the video, as well as to all victims of racism and police brutality,” Brennan said in a June 6 statement.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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