About 20 protesters on Friday walked to the Kensington home of a bicyclist who was charged with accosting three teens earlier this month on the Capital Crescent Trail.
Anthony Brennan III, 60, has been charged with assaulting two 19-year-old women and an 18-year-old man on the Capital Crescent Trail June 1. The teens were posting flyers about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Video of the confrontation with Brennan amassed millions of views, attracting national attention.
On Friday, protesters gathered at Warner Circle Park and walked less than a mile to Brennan’s house. The group stopped in the median of Connecticut Avenue, holding up signs as cars honked.
The protesters, many of them students, chanted slogans such as “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace” as they walked to Brennan’s house. A few chants included profanity and were aimed at Brennan and the police.
As the group passed a neighbor standing outside, a protester yelled “I’m sorry about your racist neighbor,” referring to Brennan.
When the protesters got to Brennan’s house, they drew messages with chalk in the street and on the sidewalk, including “Black Lives Matter” and “racist.”
A police officer who was present warned the group that they weren’t allowed to stand in the road, but allowed them to stay there if they protested while walking in a circle, as long as they moved when a car came through.
After about 10 minutes in front of Brennan’s house, the protesters walked back to Warner Circle Park. They planned to drive to the Capital Crescent Trail and leave signs in support of racial justice.
Brennan could not be reached for comment by phone on Friday. No one answered the door to his home when a reporter rang the doorbell.
Ally Heitman, a rising freshman at Northwood High School, carried a sign that said “use your white privilege to dismantle the system.” She said Friday’s protest was about more than just Brennan’s behavior.
“I feel like what Mr. Brennan did was wrong, but as a society, as a whole, we need to step up and use our right to protest to change laws and what’s going on right now,” she said.
Liliana Wilson of Silver Spring said she came to the protest with her daughter after hearing about it on the neighborhood listserv Nextdoor. She said it is important to set a positive example for the next generation in standing for social justice.
“We need to be what we’re asking for. If you want justice, you need to be just. If you want good and positivity, you need to be that as well. It’s a shift that needs to happen,” she said.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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