This 69-year-old cyclist certainly handed Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park rangers one of the strangest arrests they’ve ever made.
The incident is just now coming to light, but the National Park Service (NPS) reports that on July 12, 2022, NPS law enforcement rangers responded to a report of a bizarre physical altercation in the park. According to their report, local cyclist Charles Givens, 69, of Ringgold, GA, biked head-first into a completely unnecessary conflict.
The incident began after the Georgian rode his bicycle “around posted and signed barricades into a major road construction zone,” NPS begins in their media release. But it gets far stranger from there.
What follows was corroborated by three witnesses, and was all caught on video via cellphone. After breaching the barricades, Givens then rode his bicycle directly into an active and hazardous work zone. There, construction workers, each wearing reflective vests, attempted to stop him by yelling and signaling directly to him. But Givens ignored all directions.
The 69-year-old then rode his bicycle straight into one of the construction workers, crashing and toppling off his bike. He then stood up, drew out his pepper spray, and pepper sprayed the construction worker directly in the face. Immediately following, Givens lunged at the construction worker with a stun gun.
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park’s Bizarre Biker Booked into Catoosa County Jail
After identifying him, park rangers stationed in the Chickamauga Battlefield area of Tennessee & Georgia’s shared Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park contacted Givens, confiscating his pepper spray and stun gun. He was then charged with simple battery by Park Ranger Justin Young and later booked into the Catoosa County Jail.
If there was a motive for such a bizarre assault, NPS is not releasing it to the public. No further details on Charles Givens are available. It’s about as strange an incident that this National Park reporter has ever covered.
In the past, Chickamauga rangers have issued multiple federal and state citations to bicyclists. Many have come as cyclists ride around similar barricades during major road construction. Quite a few have been given out “over the last few months,” the park cites.
But for the safety of both visitors and workers in the area, the park asks that visitors please abide by all posted signs. Visitors are required to stay out of these closed areas during their visits while the ongoing road projects continue.
If unfamiliar, this national military park is preserved for fateful Civil War battles in 1863. That year, Union and Confederate forces fought for control of Chattanooga, TN, then known as the “Gateway to the Deep South.”
At first, the Confederates were victorious at nearby Chickamauga that September. But renewed fighting in Chattanooga the following November provided Union troops victory. After controlling the city, a Confederate soldier ominously wrote, “This… Is the death-knell of the Confederacy.”