White man charged after mother calls police on Black parking attendant: ‘Thought I was going to have a typical Karen moment’

Edward Brennan took a swing at Johnny Martinez because he refused to show his identification documents, according to an arrest warrant

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 09 December 2021 05:00
Black man assaulted in parking garage after altercation with white mother-son duo

A Tennessee man has been charged with assault after a video of him and his mother having an altercation with a worker in a car park went viral on social media.

The incident took place on 27 November at the River House apartment complex, where Johnny Martinez, an employee with a booting company who was checking cars for permits, was allegedly attacked by Edward Brennan, reported The Daily Beast.

Mr Brennan allegedly took a swing at Mr Martinez because he refused to show his identification documents, according to an arrest warrant filed by the Nashville metro police on 2 December.

“A reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative,” causing Mr Martinez to fear “imminent bodily injury”, the warrant said.

Mr Martinez filmed the incident and posted videos on YouTube and Twitter. In it, Mr Brennan can be seen confronting him along with his mother, later identified as Bitsy Brennan.

Mr Martinez, who is Black, is heard asking the white mother and son why they wanted to know what he was doing there.

“We just want to know what you’re doing here,” said Ms Brennan, to which Mr Martinez said “none of your business”.

Mr Martinez said he worked for a booting company that has contracts with hundreds of properties in Nashville, including the River House apartment complex. “If they didn’t have a permit [to park there], we would immobilise the vehicle. We would put a boot on it,” he said.

He added that there was no way to not understand that he was working after seeing his large headlamp, knee pads, and lanyard.

Mr Martinez said that he started recording after he saw the mother and son monitoring him while he was working. “As I was doing my rounds ... I noticed people watching me,” he said, adding that he tried to avoid them until Ms Brennan told him: “You don’t belong here. How did you get here?”

The video showed Mr Brennan threatening to call the police and saying: “This is not your apartment.” He also asked Mr Martinez for an ID but he refused to provide it saying he didn’t need to tell them anything “because he was not interrupting”.

On his YouTube post, Mr Martinez said he had his ID hanging off his neck. “They knew what I was doing and just wanted to demean me by telling me I didn’t belong and trying to force me to show them ID,” he said.

“This is a secure building,” Ms Brennan can be heard saying.

“How do you think I got in here? Did I follow you?” asks Mr Martinez.

Mr Brennan then allegedly lunged at Mr Martinez and asked him to put down the phone. “When he attacked me, he swung, he almost hit me in the face,” Mr Martinez said. “He broke this bottle opener off of my keys. When I went to go pick it up, he lunged.”

Mr Brennan is heard on video saying, “Get the f*** out of my building,” as his mother called the police.

“There is a gentleman down here, we asked him what he is doing down here, and he said none of our business and was kind of nasty towards us,” she said on the 911 call. “So we are kind of trying to figure out why this person is here in the parking lot. He is not telling us why he’s here saying none of our business. He will not show us his ID.”

As Ms Brennan told the dispatcher that she was not a security guard and only a resident of the building, Mr Martinez insisted that she “tell them that the person is Black”.

“I don’t care what colour you are,” Ms Brennan said in response.

Mr Martinez later said that he waited for the police to arrive but by the time they did, the mother and son had left. “I felt like crap,” he said. “I thought I was going to have a typical Karen moment.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in