An Iowa man arrested earlier this week after allegedly driving his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, said he did so because the demonstrators needed an "attitude adjustment," according to authorities.
Michael Stepanek, 45, was arrested on Tuesday for the incident in Iowa City, according to a criminal complaint published by The Smoking Gun. Investigators allege that Stepanek was driving his 1998 Toyota Camry on Friday when he hit a traffic delay at an intersection due to a protest in the area; Stepanek then honked his horn and made a screeching U-turn, all of which was captured by surveillance cameras, the complaint states. However, after leaving the area, Stepanek is believed to have turned his headlights off and driven back to the protest area, this time with no cars between his vehicle and the protesters. He then allegedly drove into the crowd, striking multiple people with his car before fleeing the scene, according to police.
Several people were injured during the attack, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports. One witness told the outlet that he saw the driver hit two people with his car, and that one person was carried briefly on the car’s windshield. That victim reportedly complained of an injured foot, but still continued to participate in the march, which was organized by the Iowa Freedom Riders, according to the outlet.
Following an investigation, police on Tuesday brought Stepanek into custody without incident and charged him with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury, the Iowa Police Department said in a news release.
When speaking with authorities, Stepanek allegedly said that he felt the protesters needed an “attitude adjustment,” according to a criminal complaint. He remains in custody at the Johnson City Jail on $15,000 bond, online jail records show.
Iowa police said Tuesday that they are continuing to investigate and that anyone who was injured during Friday’s incident is encouraged to reach out to them.
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