AUSTIN (KXAN) — A now-viral video of a southwest Austin man spraying a woman with a hose after she berated a neighbor for having a Black Lives Matter flag in her yard is setting social media on fire.
Ian Doherty said he was standing up to a bully during the incident Oct. 7.
He, along with multiple neighbors, heard the woman screaming about the flag and saying “white lives matter” during the altercation. The argument lasted about 30 minutes, Doherty said, and the woman yelled about other things in the neighbor’s yard, but the BLM flag being more visible than the American flag was what sparked the outrage.
After Doherty went outside and asked the woman to stop yelling at his neighbor about five minutes into the argument, the woman snapped at him.
“She told me where to stuff it,” Doherty said. “I don’t remember her exact words, but she swore at me, yelled at me, and then I blew it off.”
Ten minutes later, he said he got the now internet-famous hose and sprinkler out. Videos shot by neighbors show the sprinkler in the corner of his yard with the water going in the street, drenching the woman’s car she parked in the middle of the street before the argument began.
He then picked up the sprinkler and pointed it at her car, something he hoped would encourage her to leave but prompted the woman to walk on his lawn and attempt to grab the sprinkler. Doherty responded by spraying the woman with water as she slipped on the curb several times trying to lunge at him, the video shows.
“She adopts a really aggressive stance, and she told me to turn my water hose off, and I just wasn’t going to do it,” Doherty said. “I’m on my property, and she was being ridiculous and abusive and saying the worst things for half an hour. I’m not going to back down on my property.”
KXAN reached out to the woman in the video, who did not want to comment on the record. Her lawyer sent KXAN a letter Thursday saying “the online article is filled with half-truths and flat out deceptive statements,” but did not elaborate.
“The neighbors have all made peace with one another and there is nothing to be gained by stirring things up again,” the lawyer wrote.
Doherty also had an interview with the syndicated newsmagazine TV show “Inside Edition” about the incident.
Here’s video provided to KXAN by a witness that shows more of what happened after Doherty initially sprayed the woman:
Doherty told the woman to get off his property several times, and while she claimed she wasn’t on his property, they’re standing in front of Doherty’s home in the video.
Doherty and the woman then exchange more words, and Doherty gives up the hose to the woman and turns the water off. The woman then slowly walks back to her car, and the neighbor who she was initially yelling at says, “if you had approached me with kindness and said, ‘Oh hey, by the way, your flags are up wrong,’ I would have responded better.”
Austin police responded to the scene shortly after the incident, but no charges were filed.
Doherty said he was surprised at the viral reaction to the video. He said it took him 10 days to even post the video, calling it an “ugly and embarrassing episode for everyone involved,” and he wasn’t even going to until he showed other neighbors, and they encouraged him to post it.
“I showed one of my friends, and I’m friends with some really nice parents in the neighborhood, and I showed one of the dads, and all the moms insisted they see it,” Doherty said. “They all agreed that I needed to share it, so I shared it. I wouldn’t have posted it without their support.”
He said he’s nervous at how much the attention the video has received, but at the same time, he said people need to stand up against that kind of behavior.
“It is exposing yourself, but I think you have to stand up to bullies and racism, in general,” Doherty said. “I’m not calling her a racist, I’m not making any attacks against the woman, but she was being antagonistic and a bully, for sure. I heard her scream ‘white lives matter,’ and just being ugly in general. I’ve got no time for that. I’m glad I did what I did.”