Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey
Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey reports on charges being dropped in the case of an alleged cab driver assault.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced Thursday that it would ask the Department of Justice to pursue charges against the Northern Virginia businessman accused of assaulting a Muslim cab driver after going on a profane rant attacking his religion.
All Fairfax County charges against Ed Dahlberg were dropped Thursday morning. Prosecutors said the story cab driver Mohammad Salim told authorities didn't match the evidence presented in the case.
Salim said that after he picked up passenger Ed Dahlberg from a Fairfax County Country Club in April, Dahlberg became verbally abusive, criticized his Muslim faith and called him a terrorist. Salim recorded the confrontation on his cell phone.
Salim claimed right after he dropped Dahlberg off, the businessman returned and hit him, breaking his jaw.
The prosecution said there wasn't enough time between the cell phone recording and a 911 call placed immediately after the recording for an assault to have occurred. Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond Morrogh says they also found inconsistencies in Salim's version of events.
"At first he claimed he was assaulted in the cab and had the whole assalt on film. He later changed that to say the defendant left the cab and came back and assaulted him a second time knocking him unconscious for several minutes. That's inconsistent with the physcial evidence," said Morrogh.
Dahlberg's lawyers accuse Salim of making up the assault story to try to later make money through a civil lawsuit.
"The complainant, it appears, was trying to egg him on, putting a video camera in his face, pushing it at him and then he made up the story about the assault and punch in jaw," said defense attorney John Kenneth Zwerling. "It was all disprovable.Sso this nightmare has ended for Mr. Dahlberg."
Dahlberg, president of Emerald Aviation in Manassas, was charged with misdemeanor assault and failure to pay. Both of those charges were dropped.
But CAIR lawyers will now turn to the Department of Justice for review.
"It is outrageous that the prosecutor, instead of charging the perpetrator of a bias-motivated assault, chose to ignore clear evidence of a hate motive and to smear the victim," said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who is also Salim's attorney.
Prosecutor Morrogh had some critical words for CAIR, suggesting the organization pushed the case to score political points.
"In my opinion I think some people took this incident and ran with it. It's to make a political point and they were not paying attention to what the truth was, what the evidence was," said Morrogh.