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Cedar Rapids man charged with assault for driving car into abortion protesters

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was charged Tuesday with assaulting protesters as he drove his vehicle "aggressively" toward the group who were on foot crossing the street near the federal courthouse on June 24.

David Alan Huston, 53, was charged with assault by use or display of a dangerous weapon — vehicle, an aggravated misdemeanor; and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail.

Huston will be prosecuted by the Black Hawk County Attorney's Office following an investigation by the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Black Hawk County Attorney Brian Williams said last month he was reviewing the case because at least one member of the Linn County Attorney's Office was present during the incident and could be a witness.

The case will be tried in Linn County, Williams said in a statement Tuesday.

A complaint hasn't been filed in Linn County, but Williams said in a news release that as protesters crossed Second Street SE, near the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Cedar Rapids, Huston approached the protesters in his truck.

"Although Mr. Huston had a green light, he appears to aggressively approach with his vehicle while the protesters remained on foot," Williams said. "Other vehicles in the area appear to simply wait for the protesters."

Williams said there isn't any evidence to show this was "politically motivated" or any evidence that the protesters were aggressive in any way toward any of the public during the incident.

Police previously said they had surveillance video of the area where demonstrators gathered about 7:17 p.m. to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against abortion rights earlier that day.

Videos posted on social media showed a truck with its window rolled down and what appeared to be a driver exchanging words with several protesters as the vehicle was moving forward.

Police after the incident interviewed the injured woman — who was taken to the hospital for possible treatment — and the driver.

Williams didn't identify any protesters being injured.

"As I crossed the street, I heard a commotion," Linn County Supervisor Stacy Walker recalled in an interview after the incident. "I turned back to see a truck driving into the crowd with at least two young women — one of whom is a Linn County staffer — directly in front of the vehicle, and another woman appeared to be engaged with the vehicle near the driver's side."

Walker said he believed the vehicle had no intention of stopping, so he ran to try to help.

"The driver accelerated and injured several young women in the process," Walker said. "Thankfully the women in front of the vehicle were not run over."

Video posted on social media captured the truck's personalized license plate as the driver sped away. Police said the driver was "voluntarily interviewed," but didn't say whether that occurred at the scene or whether local enforcement located the driver later.

Williams said last month he obtained the police evidence and there might be additional follow-up to do before possible charges were filed.

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