A City of Austin Park Ranger recently took a moment to advocate social distancing when he came across a large group of people taking advantage of the warm weather.
During his explanation, one of the men came well within six feet to push him into the water.
The forecasted temperature for Austin, TX on April 30 was 89 degrees and sunny. For a park ranger during the pandemic—a time when avoiding large gatherings of human beings is of paramount importance—that ensures a very busy and exhausting day.
And for one ranger in particular, it was a very wet day.
While patrolling the grounds of Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park, Ranger Cassidy Stillwell came across a group of people that were smoking and drinking, according to court documents obtained by Fox 7.
Stillwell had plenty to discuss with the crowd.
Smoking and drinking are illegal in the park.
Ranger Stillwell also felt the group wasn't social distancing properly. Stillwell was standing on a rock at the edge of a lake while politely dispersing the crowd.
During his impromptu speech, a man ran up to him and pushed him directly into the water. The man quickly runs off as Stillwell makes his way back onto dry land.
A video capturing the incident eventually surfaced on Reddit and has since made the rounds.
Texas Man Allegedly Pushed Park Ranger Into Lake While He Was Speaking On Social Distance | PeopleTV youtu.be
The alleged pusher was Brandon Hicks, a 25-year-old who has been charged with "attempted assault on a public servant," according to the arrest affidavit. Hicks' bail bond was set at $7,500.
Though Stillwell suffered no injuries and quickly removed himself from the water, the arrest document included a note about how terrible things could have gone:
"Brandon's intentional and reckless action could have caused the Ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling, and render himself unconscious in at least three-feet of water where he could have drowned to death."
Hicks' attorney, Mark Hull spoke with CNN about his client's upcoming case.
In a statement, Hull claimed that despite what the video shows, Hicks loves him some law and order.
"He is embarrassed about his actions and has the utmost respect for law enforcement, particularly during these unprecedented times."
Hull went on to tell CNN that it is too early to decide how Hicks will plea at his court date, set for June 19.
According to others in the group at the park, Hicks acted alone.
One eye witness, speaking to CNN, shared warmer feelings toward Stillwell's decision to disperse the crowd:
"[The ranger] was just telling us to spread apart to keep our distance and honestly was being super reasonable and understanding,"
Another witness told KXAN:
"The park ranger was actually being really sweet and understanding before."
In addition to the criticisms of those park-goers, Hicks faced the wrath of Twitter as well.
I can’t get over this. A park ranger in Austin was pushed into a lake for mentioning distancing requirements. So… https://t.co/5k8bypwn01— Read Mutual Aid by Dean Spade (@Read Mutual Aid by Dean Spade)1588689952.0
@JoshuaPotash Arrest & prosecute those miscreants. There is no excuse for such senseless rudeness & endangerment.— Don Hutchison (@Don Hutchison)1588693639.0
@JoshuaPotash Look at him run away— Matt (@Matt)1588693261.0
It feels like a good time to acknowledge that since warmer weather has already arrived, or is coming soon for some places, the pull toward activities that disregard social distancing guidelines may become more tempting than ever.
Folks are reminded to be smart as they take advantage of the sun and fresh air. The sun is just as warm and the air just as fresh 6 feet away from people you aren't self-isolating with.