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Man arrested after vehicle drove through protesters in Iowa

August 25, 2020 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa City man who said racial injustice protesters “needed an attitude adjustment” has been charged with intentionally driving his vehicle through a crowd of demonstrators, authorities said.

Michael Stepanek, 45, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury, both felonies, Iowa City police said.

Prosecutors allege Stepanek drove his vehicle into a crowd gathered for a protest against racial injustice Friday.

No one was seriously hurt and police did not initially receive a report about the incident but it gained attention when a video was posted to social media on Saturday.

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A person who was struck later came forward to give a statement, leading to Stepanek’s arrest, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Stepanek’s vehicle was one of several stopped by the protest at a city intersection. He turned around and drove around the block before shutting off his car lights and speeding toward the crowd, KCRG reported.

Officers did not see the protesters being struck but observed Stepanek speeding away from the scene.

Stepanek told officers the protesters needed “an attitude adjustment,” according to the criminal complaint.

Stepanek is being held at the Johnson County Jail.

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