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Man arrested for allegedly driving vehicle into protesters in Iowa City

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An Iowa City man has been arrested for allegedly driving his vehicle into a group of protesters in Iowa City over the weekend.

Michael Stepanek, 45, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a class C felony, and willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Johnson County District Court, at around 10:25 p.m. on Friday, August 21, Stepanek was driving eastbound in a 1998 Toyota Camry along East Burlington Street. His vehicle was stopped behind other vehicles due to a group of protesters, organized by the Iowa Freedom Riders, in the intersection between Burlington Street and Gilbert Street. Video evidence gathered by police showed the horn on Stepanek’s vehicle sounding before he made a u-turn on Burlington with tires squealing.

Iowa City Police alleged that Stepanek then drove around the block and got southbound on Gilbert Street to the north of the protesters with his lights shut off. He then allegedly sped into the crowd and struck multiple protesters intentionally, according to police. He was observed by officers fleeing eastbound at a high rate of speed on Burlington Street.

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

One person struck by the vehicle came forward to police to complain of pain due to the incident. That report allowed officers, in coordination with Johnson County attorneys, to arrest Stepanek.

A video posted to social media on Saturday brought attention to the incident, leading to police to open an investigation. Anybody with additional information, or injuries, is encouraged by police to contact the case’s investigator Mike Smithey at (319) 356-5452.

Stepanek is being held at the Johnson County Jail.

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