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WATCH: Park Ranger Shoved Into Lake Over Social Distancing Enforcement
A mature male park ranger (or police officer) standing in front of a beautiful scenic backdrop of tall mountains and a mirror lake.
avid_creative / Getty Images

A Texas park ranger was shoved into a lake in Austin as he was telling park goers to adhere to social distancing rules.

The whole thing was caught on tape, with the ranger telling a group of parkgoers to “maintain six feet of distance from each other.  “I got you, man” one parkgoer says, just before another steps up and shoves the ranger into the water. “Oh s***,” exclaims a woman. The pusher, who also fell into the water, is then seen climbing out and runs off.

The shover was identified by police as Brandon Hicks, 25, after he was quickly arrested, the local NBC affiliate reported.

According to the arrested affidavit, police responded to the call around 4:54 p.m. Thursday and were sent to Commons Ford Park. The ranger reported he had been trying to disperse a crowd of people who were unlawfully smoking and drinking in the park, police say.

“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 3 feet of water where he could have drowned to death,” the affidavit said.

The person who took the cell phone video of the incident said they were glad the person got in trouble for pushing the park ranger.

“The park ranger was actually being really sweet and understanding before,” they said.

The incident occurred as Americans began to head outside again after weeks of self-quarantining to stem the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. As of Sunday, there have been more than 1.1 million confirmed cases in the U.S., with 66,385 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

According to an Apple Mobility Trends report, traffic in the U.S. has “pretty much doubled in the past three weeks. It had been down up to 72%. And location data provider Foursquare says that gas and fast food visits are back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the American Midwest,” Forbes reported.

“Gas station traffic has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels in the Midwest, and in rural areas throughout the country,” Foursquare said yesterday in a blog post. “Foot traffic to quick service restaurants (QSRs) has risen over the past several weeks.” …

“People are feeling the itch to get back to the real world,” Foursquare says. “As officials begin the process of relaxing some business restrictions, we’re starting to see upticks in foot traffic to various places. This is true across regions, regardless of state-specific policies.”

During a gorgeous spring day on Saturday, New York City residents flocked to parks to enjoy the sunshine — watched by 1,000 cops spread out across the five boroughs, the New York Post reported.

“It’s Orwellian to be watched like this,” one freaked-out 36-year-old park-goer told The Post as she tried to enjoy the sunshine at Staten Island’s Clove Lakes Park.

“It’s friggin’ nuts,” she huffed of the patrols of NYPD cars, park police officers and bike cops — whose helmets were equipped with video cameras.

“It’s like something out of “1984,” she continued, referencing George Orwell’s dystopian classic. “What is this, a military state now?”

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