The man seen assaulting a young girl who was putting up Black Lives Matter flyers along a bike trail in Maryland is not former police officer John Damskey a local police department has said, delivering this news after a number of people claimed Damskey was the attacker.
The incident took place on Monday along Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesday, and video of the event has since gone viral, attracting millions of views across various social media platforms. In the clip, the man wearing bike gear and dark sunglasses was seen trying to stop young girls who were putting up flyers in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The suspect then pushed another man off a bike, CBS Baltimore reported.
As the report noted, the man was described by police as being between 50 and 60 years old, standing close to six feet tall, and exhibiting a medium build as well as short brown hair.
As the video attracted viral attention, police called for help in identifying the man, coming up with some potential leads. Many believe that the attacker resembled Damskey, a former Montgomery County police officer, but the department published a statement on Friday saying that this was a misidentification.
“Reports circulating on social media referencing a former MCPD employee as being the suspect in the Capital Crescent trail assault are false,” the department explained in a statement on Twitter.
“Additional information is forthcoming from the Maryland National Capital Park Police who are heading the investigation.”
This is the second time in a matter of days that a police department has dispelled reports that an officer was involved in wrongdoing related to protests that have spread across the country. Last week, video showed a mask-wearing white man smashing windows at a business in St. Paul, Minnesota, in an apparent attempt to incite rioting. Many claimed that the man was a member of the city’s police department infiltrating the crowd in order to allow police to crack down on protesters, but the department issued a statement saying this was not true.
Police conduct across the country has come under scrutiny amid the growing protests following Floyd’s death, spurring allegations that officers have used heavy-handed tactics and attacked peaceful protesters.
Officials in Maryland continue to search for the identity of the man seen in the viral video in question, and police have asked the public for any tips which may help to identify him.