Criminal mischief charge filed against bicyclist accused of helping cause $10K in damage to car

Michael Len Johnson appears to claim self-defense while also admitting to the mob attack on a Facebook post, records show.

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Bicyclist appears to admit to mob attack: 'I stand behind my actions'
Michael Len Johnson appears to admit to taking part in a bicycle mob attack against a driver in Houston's Third Ward.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 42-year-old man has been charged with criminal mischief in connection to a confrontation with a driver during a mass bike ride in Houston's Third Ward.

Michael Len Johnson was charged Monday, online records show. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. He declined to comment when reached by ABC13.

The charge stems from a mass bike ride on June 15 when driver Herschel Cashin was swarmed by dozens of people on bikes.

ORIGINAL STORY: Bicyclists swarm around lawyer's car, smash window after honking

Video shared with Eyewitness News showed Cashin driving in the middle of the bicyclists. At times, both he and the riders were traveling into oncoming traffic. Cashin was within a mile of his home when, he said, it turned violent.

"It was like some animals," he said on June 16. "I mean, ride on the side of the street."

At the intersection of South MacGregor and Scott, Cashin could go no further. One video showed a man throwing a brick into the back window of Cashin's Mercedes Benz. A closer video showed a man breaking his front windshield. According to court records, that man was identified as Johnson.

Court records state that Houston police identified Johnson through his own Facebook comment three days after the incident.

"What the media is portraying as an angry mob is us standing our ground," the post read. "We are not the aggressors here, we are the protectors...I broke the windshield, and I stand behind my actions. I didn't attack a vehicle out of anger. I disabled a vehicle that was being used indiscriminately as a weapon against any member of the group who was in the driver's way. The windshield was broken because, in my mind, if you can't see, you can't drive."

Bicyclists contacted ABC13 to say that Cashin hit them with his car, but video does not support those claims, and a police spokesperson could not find any reports.

When police contacted Johnson, court records state he admitted to striking the window.

Cashin told police that damage to his vehicle is estimated at $10,094.78.

Since the ride, HPD Chief Troy Finner has met with organizers to discuss how everyone can share the road. It is a delicate subject.

The videos have generated strong opinions. Bicyclists have contacted ABC13, fiercely defending themselves and their bike culture. Motorists have expressed their frustration with the takeovers.

Not even Bike Houston, a group that advocates for expanded and safe bike riding in Houston, wanted to weigh in, emailing that they are "agnostic on street takeover rides."

In a tweet on June 17, Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote that the mob's actions were "totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated." Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen's office said he and Finner plan to reach out to some law-abiding groups to discuss solutions.

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